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Full text of "Journal of a voyage for the discovery of a north-west passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific : performed in the years, 1819-20, in His Majesty's ships Hecla and Griper, under the orders of William Edward Parry ; with an appendix containing the scientific and other observations"

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JOURNAL 

f 

OF   A   VOYAGE    FOR  THE   DISCOVERY    OF   A 

NORTH-WEST   PASSAGE 

FROM  THE  ATLANTIC   TO   THE   PACIFIC; 

PERFORMED  IN  THE  YEARS  1819—20, 
IN  HIS  MAJESTY'S  SHIPS 

HECLA    AND    GRIPER, 

UNDER  THE  ORDERS  OF 

SVC  WILLIAM  EDWARD  PARRY,   R.N.,   F.R.S., 

AND    COMMANDER    OF    THE    EXPEDITION. 


WITH  AN  APPENDIX,  CONTAINING  THE  SCIENTIFIC 
AND  OTHER  OBSERVATIONS. 


PUBLISHED    BY    AUTHORITY   OF    THE  LORDS    COMMISSIONERS 
OF  THE  ADMIRALTY. 


LONDON 


JOHN   MURRAY, 

PUBLISHER  TO  THE  ADMIRALTY,  AND  BOARD  OF  LONGITUDE 


MDCCCXXI. 


JOURNAL 

? 

OF   A  VOYAGE    FOR  THE   DISCOVERY    OF  A 

NORTH-WEST   PASSAGE 

FROM  THE  ATLANTIC   TO   THE   PACIFIC: 


PERFORMED  IN  THE  YEARS  1819—20, 

IN  HIS  MAJESTY'S  SHIPS 

S 

HECLA    AND    GRIPER, 

UNDER  THE  ORDERS  OF 

S^f  WILLIAM  EDWARD  PARRY,   R.N.,   F.R.S. 

AyO    COMMANDER    OF    THE    EXPEDITION. 


WITH  AN  APPENDIX,  CONTAINING  THE  SCIENTIFIC 
AND  OTHER  OBSERVATIONS. 


PUBLISHED    BY    AUTHORITY   OF    THE  LORDS    COMMISSIONERS 
OF  THE  ADMIRALTY. 


LONDON 


JOHN   MURRAY, 

PUBLISHER  TO  THE  ADMIRALTY,  AND  BOARD  OF  LONGITUDE 

MDCCCXXI. 


3' 


^\^ 


\^> 


^373 


LONDON : 

PRINTED  BY  WILLIAM  CLOWES, 

Xorthuuiberland-court. 


To 
THE  RIGHT  HONOURABLE  THE 

LORD    VISCOUNT    MELVILLE, 

'""hIg'h  ADMrr'n';'""*^^  ™"  KXECUTING  THE  OFFICE  OP  LORD 
HIGH  ADMIRAL  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN  AND  IRELAND,  4c.  .tc  4c 

THIS  VOLUME, 


CONTAINING 


THE  JOURNAL  OF  A  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY  OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE 

FROM  THE  ATLANTIC  TO  THE  PACIFIC, 

UNDERTAKEN  AND  EXECUTED  UNDER  THE  AUSPICES  OP  HIS  LORDSHIP. 

IS  INSCRIBED, 

WITH  DUE  RESPECT  AND  GRATITUDE, 

BY  HIS  OBLIGED  AND  FAITHFUL  SERVANT. 

WILLIAM  EDWARD  PARRY. 


London,  May,  1821. 


CONTENTS. 


Introduction 
Official  Instructions 


CHAPTER  I. 


Passage  across  the  Atlantic — Enter  Davis*  Strait — Unsuccessful  attempt  to  penetrate  the  ice 
to  the  Western  Coast — Voyage  up  the  Strait — Passage  through  the  Ice  to  the  Western 
Coast — Arrival  off  Possession  Bay,  on  the  Southern  side  of  the  entrance  into  Sir  James 
Lancaster's  Sound  .........       1 

CHAPTER  II. 

Entrance  into  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound  of  Baffin— Uninterrupted  Passage  to  the  Westward 
—Discovery  and  Examination  of  Prince  Regent's  Inlet — Progress  to  the  Southward 
stopped  by  Ice — Return  to  the  Northward — Pass  Barrow's  Strait — and  enter  the  Polar 
Sea  ...........     29 

CHAPTER  III. 

Favourable  appearances  of  an  Open  Westerly  Passage — Land  to  the  Northward,  a  Series  ol 
Islands — General  Appearance  of  them — Meet  with  some  obstruction  from  low  Islands  sur- 
rounded with  Ice — Remains  of  Esquimaux  Huts,  and  Natural  Productions  of  Byam 
Martin  Island — Tedious  Navigation  from  Fogs  and  Ice — Difficulty  of  Steering  a  Proper 
Course — Arrival  and  Landing  on  Melville  Island — Proceed  to  the  Westward,  and  reach 
the  Meridian  of  110°  W.  Longitude,  the  First  Stage  in  the  Scale  of  Rewards  granted  by 
Act  of  Parliament  .  .  .  .  .  ,  .  .  .53 

CHAPTER  IV. 

Further  Examination  of  Melville  Island — Continuation  of  our  Progress  to  the  Westward — Long 
Detention  by  the  Ice— Party  sent  on  Shore  to  hunt  Deer  and  Musk-Oxen— Return  in 
Three  Days,  after  losing  their  way — Anxiety  on  their  account-^Proceed  to  the  Westward, 
till  finally  stopped  by  the  Ice — In  returning  to  the  Eastward  the  Griper  forced  on  the 
beach  by  the  Ice — Search  for,  and  discovery  of,  a  Winter  Harbour  on  Melville  Island — 
Operations  for  securing  the  Ships  in  their  Winter  Quarters  .  .  .  .75 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  V. 

PAGE 

Precautions  for  securing  the  Ships  and  Stores — for  promoting  Good  Order,  Cleanliness, 
Health,  and  Good-humour,  among  the  Ships'  Companies — Establishment  of  a  Theatre, 
and  of  the  North  Georgia  Gazette — Erection  of  an  Observatory  on  Shore — Commence  our 
Winter's  Amusements — State  of  the  Temperature  and  various  Meteorological  Phenomena 
— Miscellaneous  Occurrences  to  the  close  of  the  Year  1819  ....  101 

CHAPTER  VI. 

First  Appearance  of  Scurvy — The  Aurora  Borealis  and  other  Meteorological  Phenomena — 
Visits  of  the  Wolves — Re-appearance  of  the  Sun — Extreme  low  Temperature — Destruc- 
tion of  the  House  on  Shore  by  Fire — Severe  Frost-bites  occasioned  by  this  Accident         .  131 

CHAPTER  Vn. 

More  temperate  Weather — House  re-built — Quantity  of  Ice  collected  on  the  Hecla's  lower 
Deck — Meteorological  Phenomena — Conclusion  of  Theatrical  Entertainments — Increased 
Sickness  on  board  the  Griper — Clothes  first  dried  in  the  open  Air — Remarkable  Halos 
and  Parhelia — Snow-Blindness — Cutting  the  Ice  round  the  Ships,  and  other  Occurrences 
to  the  Close  of  May  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .151 

CHAPTER  Vni. 

Journey  across  Melville  Island  to  the  Northern  Shore,  and  Return  to  the  Ships  by  a  different 

Route       .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .181 

CHAPTER  IX. 

Occurrences  at  Winter  Harbour  in  the  early  Part  of  Jhine^Gradual  Dissolution  of  the  Ice  upon 
the  Sea,  and  of  the  Snow  upon  the  Land — Hunting  Parties  sent  out  to  procure  Game — 
Decease  and  Burial  of  William  Scott — Equipment  of  the  Ships  completed — Temperate 
Weather  during  the  Month  of  July — Breaking  up  of  the  Ice  near  the  Ships — Move  to  the 
lower  Part  of  the  Harbour — Separation  of  the  Ice  at  the  Entrance — Prepare  to  sail — 
Abstract  of  Observations  made  in  Winter  Harbour  .  .  .  .  .  206 

CHAPTER  X. 

Leave  Winter  Harbour — Flattering  appearance  of  the  Sea  to  the  Westward — Stopped  by  the 
Ice  near  Cape  Hay — Further  Progress  to  the  Longitude  of  113°  48'  22". 5,  being  the 
Westernmost  Meridian  hitherto  reached  in  the  Polar  Sea,  to  the  North  of  America — Banks's 
Land  Discovered — Increased  extent  and  dimensions  of  the  Ice — Return  to  the  East- 
ward, to  endeavour  to  penetrate  the  Ice  to  the  Southward — Discovery  of  several  Islands — 
Re-enter  Barrow's  Strait,  and  survey  its  South  Coast — Pass  through  Sir  James  Lan- 
caster's Sound,  on  our  Return  to  England  ......  228 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  XL 

PAGE 

Progress  down  the  Western  Coast  of  Baffin's  Bay — Meet  with  tlie  Whalers — Account  of  some 
Esquimaux  in  the  Inlet  called  the  River  Clyde — Continue  the  survey  of  the  Coast,  till 
stopped  by  Ice  in  the  Latitude  of  68|° — Obliged  to  run  to  the  Eastward — Fruitless 
attempts  to  regain  the  land,  and  final  Departure  from  the  Ice — Remarks  upon  the  pro- 
bable existence  and  practicability  of  a  Nopth-West  Passage,  and  upon  the  Whale- 
Fishery — Boisterous  Weather  in  crossing  the  Atlantic — Loss  of  the  Hecla's  Bowsprit  and 
Foremast — Arrival  in  England.     .  .  ,  .  ,  .  .  .271 


APPENDIX. 


I.  An  Account  of  the  going  of  the  Chronometers  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper 

II.  Lunar  Observations     ........ 

III.  Observations  to  determine  the  Latitude  and  the  Longitude  by  Chronometers 

IV.  Abstract  of  Observations  on  the  Dip  of  the  Horizon  at  Sea,  with  Doctor  Woliaston 

Dip  Sector,  in  1819  and  1820        ...... 

V.  Magnetic  Observations  .  .  . 
V'l.    Table  of  Days'  Works  kept  on  board  the  Hecla 

VII.  Tide  Table  in  Winter  Harbour,  Melville  Island  .  .... 

VIII.  An  Account  of  Experiments  to  determine  the  Acceleration  of  the  Pendulum  in  dif 

ferent  Latitudes      ........ 

IX.     Remarks  on  the  State  of  Health  and  Disease  on  board  the  Hecla  and  Griper 


XXI 

Ixi 


cxliii 
civ 


clxi 
clxvii 


LIST  OP  THE  PLATES. 


A  I- 
II. 
III. 

,    IV. 

V. 
,  VI. 

VII. 

VIII. 
._   IX. 

X. 

XI. 
.    XII. 
,  XIII. 
,  XIV. 

i-xv. 

XVI. 
XVII. 
XVIII. 
XIX. 
XX. 


General  Polar  Chart,  shewing  the  Track,  S^c. — to  face 

Situation  of  H.  M.  Ships  Hecla  and  Griper,  July  4th,   1819 

Iceberg  in  Baffin's  Bay,  July,  1819       . 

Chart  of  the  Discoveries,  4"c.  ^c. 

Headlands,  ^c,  commencing  with  Cape  Bathurst 

Ditto Cape  Warrender 

Burnet  Inlet       •■.... 
Headlands,  ^c,  commencing  with  Hobhouse  Inlet 

I^'tto Prince  Leopold's  Islands 

Chart  of  Port  Bowen      ..... 

Headlands,  Sfc,  commencing  with  Cape  Cockburn 

Situation  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  September  20th,  1819 

Cutting  into  Winter  Harbour 

Hecla  and  Griper  in  Winter  Harbour 

Chart  of  Winter  Harbour  .... 

Situation  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  17th  to  23d  of  August,  1820 

Mnsk-Ox  ....._ 

Chart  of  a  Part  of  the  Western  Coast  of  Baffin's  Bay 

Esquimaux  of  the  Inlet  called  the  River  Clyde 

Chart  of  the  River  Clyde  .... 


Title  Page. 
.  II 
.  17 
.  29 
.  31 
.  32 
.  34 
.  35 
.  36 
.  44 
.  58 
.  92 
.  97 
.  122 
.  226 
.  254 
.  257 
.  271 
.  282 
.  288 


The  following;  Errata  occur  in  the  Noon  Longitudes  in  the  Nar- 
native,  in  consequence  of  having  inadvertently  inserted  those 
by  Chronometer  No.  2i8,  instead  of  those  by  the  mean  of  the 
whole  number' employed. 

Page  4,  line  <l,  fromthcbottora,./;-!- 25  11  51  rearl  Vi  10  51) 

—  7,—     7, .  —  48  0150     —     48  09  42 

—  7,  —    2,  from  the  bottom,  —  01  32  49    —    61  38  25 

—  8,—    8 —  8134  28    —    6139  53 

—  8,  —    4,  from  the  bottom,  —  fit  42  5S    —    61  48  07 

—  II,  —  9,        do.        do.       —  56  47  56  —  57  07  56 

—  12,—     9 —  57  46  26  —  57  5113 

—  12,  —  4,  troni  the  bottom,  —  57  00  43  —  57  05  54 

—  13,—     5, —57  22  57  —  57.27  25 

—  13,-20, —  58  10  30  —  53  14  55 

—  14,  —  4,  from  the  botiom,  —  57  33  56  —  57  37  40 

—  15,  —     7 —  59  II  53  —  50   14  57 

—  16,  —     3, —  59  46  18  —  59  43  04 

—  17,-10 —  59  03  54  —  59  05  39 

—  18,—     6, —  53  42  11  —  58  43  57 

—  19,  —  12 —  60  09  07  —  60  11  30 

—  19,  —    4,  from  the  bottom,  —  60  07  54  —  GO  03  40 

—  20,  —    7,        do.        do.       —  60  U  52  —  60  II  58 

—  21,  —     6,         do.         do.        —  00  24  27  —  60  22  27 

—  24,  —     7, —  75  02  14  —  74  59  58 


A  Supplement    to  the  Appendix,   containing  the  Zoology, 
Botany,  Geology,   ^c,  of  the  Arctic  Regions,  will  be  published 


on  the  \st  of  June. 


INTRODUCTION. 


His  Majesty's  Government  having  determined  on  the  equipment 
of  an  Expedition  to  attempt  the  Discovery  of  a  North-West  Pas- 
sage into  the  Pacific,  the  Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty  were 
pleased  to  honour  me  with  the  command ;  and  my  Commission  for  His 
Majesty's  ship  the  Hecla,  was  dated  the  16th  of  January,  1819.  I 
arrived  in  London  on  the  20th,  and  commissioned  the  Hecla  at 
Deptford  on  the  following  day.  The  second  vessel  appointed  for  this 
service  was  the  Griper,  gun-brig ;  she  was  commissioned  by  Lieute- 
nant Matthew  Liddon,  who  was  directed  to  put  himself  under  my 
orders,  on  the  29th  of  January. 

The  Hecla  was  a  bomb,  of  three  hundred  and  seventy-five  tores, 
built  in  a  merchant's  yard  at  Hull,  in  the  year  1815,  of  large  scant- 
ling, and  having  a  capacious  hold,  which  made  her  peculiarly  fit  for 
this  service.  The  Griper  was  originally  a  gun-brig,  of  one  hundred 
and  eighty  tons  ;  and  it  was  proposed  by  the  Navy  Board  to  raise  upon 
her  a  deck  of  six  feet,  so  as  to  increase  her  stowage  as  much  as  pos- 
sible. Both  ships  had  been  taken  into  dock  about  the  middle  of 
December,  in  order  to  undergo  a  thorough  repair,  and  to  receive 
every  strengthening  which  the  nature  of  the  service  demanded. 


INTRODUCTION. 


The  number  of  individuals  employed  on  this  service,  amounted  to 
ninety-four  ;  their  distribution  on  board  each  ship  will  be  seen  in  the 
following  table. 


A  TABLE  shewing  the  Officers,  Seamen,  Marines,  SfC,  embarked  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ships 

Hecla  and  Griper. 


KANK. 


ON  BOARD  THE  HECLA. 


Officers'  Names. 


No.  of 
Rank 


ON  BOARD  THE  GRIPER. 


Officers'  Names.  each 

Rank 


Lieutenant  and  Commander 
Astronomer       .     .     .     .     . 

Lieutenant 

Surgeon 

Purser 

Assistant  Surgeon ... 


Midshipmen 


Clerk 

Gunner  .... 
Boatswain  .  .  . 
Carpenter  .  .  . 
Greenland  Master . 
Greenland  Mate    . 

Cook 

Leading  Men    .     . 
Quarter-master 
Gunner's-mate  .     . 
Boatswain's-mate  . 
Carpenter' s-mate  . 
Armourer' s-mate  . 
Sailmaker    .     .     . 
Able  Seamen    .     . 
Serjeant  of  Marines 
Privates  of  ditto    . 
Serjeant  of  Artillery 
Private  of  ditto 


William  Edward  Parry 
Capt.  Edward  Sabine,  R.  A. 
Frederick  William  Beechey 
John  Edwards  ..... 
William  Harvey  Hooper 
Alexander  Fisher  .... 
■Joseph  Nias  .  . 
William  J.  Dealey 
Charles  Palmer  . 
James  Clarke  Ross 
.John  Bushnan 
James  Halse  .  . 
James  Scallon  .  . 
Jacob  Swansea .  . 
William  Wallis  . 
John  Allison  •  . 
George  Crawford  . 


Accompanying  Capt.  Sabine 


Total      58 


Matthew  Liddon  .  .  , 
Henry  Parkyns  Hoppner 

Charles  James  Beverly   . 

Andrew  Reid  .... 
A.  M.  Skene  .  .  .  . 
William  Nelson  Griffiths 

Cyrus  Wakeham   .     .     . 


George  Fife 
Alexander  Elder 


Corporal  of  Marines 


Total 


INTRODUCTION.  Ill 

As  an  encouragement  to  the  oificers,  seamen,  and  marines,  who 
were  desirous  of  being  employed  on  this  service,  the  Lords  Commis- 
sioners of  the  Admiralty  were  pleased  to  grant  to  every  individual 
engaged  in  the  Expedition,  double  the  ordinary  pay  of  His  Majesty's 
Navy.  The  ships  were  speedily  manned  with  a  full  complement  of 
excellent  seamen ;  nearly  the  whole  of  those  who  had  served  on  the 
former  Expedition  having  again  volunteered  tlieir  services,  besides 
numerous  others  who  were  anxious  to  be  employed  on  this  occasion. 

The  mode  of  fortifying  or  strengthening  the  ships  was  principally  the 
same  as  that  adopted  on  board  the  Isabella  and  Alexander  in  1818  *. 
The  Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty  were  pleased  to  direct 
the  Navy  and  Victualling  Boards  to  furnish  every  thing  which  the 
experience  of  the  former  voyage  had  suggested  as  necessary,  and 
during  the  whole  progress  of  our  fitting,  I  received  the  greatest 
attention  and  assistance  from  those  Boards,  who  most  readily  com- 
plied with  every  wish  expressed  by  me  for  the  more  complete 
equipment  of  the  ships. 

The  mode  of  rigging  the  vessels  was  that  of  a  barque,  as 
being  the  most  convenient  among  the  ice,  and  requiring  the 
smallest  number  of  men  to  work  them ;  a  consideration  of  no 
little  importance,  where  it  was  a  material  object  to  sail  with 
as  few  persons  as  possible,  in  order  to  extend  our  resources 
to  the  utmost.  The  Hecla's  mizen-topsail  was,  therefore,  taken 
away,  and  the  mizen-mast,  top-mast,  gaff,  and  driver-boom  length- 
ened, so  as  to  make  up,  by  a  large  driver  and  gaflF-topsail,  nearly  the 
same  quantity  of  after-sail  as  before ;  the  foremast  and  mainmast 
remaining  the  same  as  on  the  former  establishment.  By  this  al- 
*  See  the  Narrative  of  the  former  Voyage. 


IV  INTRODUCTIOK. 

teration  we  were  enabled  to  put  the  ship's  company  into  three 
watches,  a  regulation  which  is  well  known  to  tend  very  es- 
sentially to  the  health  and  comfort  of  seamen,  while  it  serves 
also  the  important  purpose  of  teaching  them  their  own  strength, 
and  increasing  their  activity  on  occasions  requiring  more  than 
ordinary  exertion. 

The  ships  were  completely  furnished  with  provisions  and  stores 
for  a  period  of  two  years  ;  in  addition  to  which,  a  large  supply  of 
fresh  meats  and  soups,  preserved  in  tin  cases,  by  Messrs.  Donkin  and 
Gamble,  of  Burkitt's  essence  of  malt  and  hops,  and  of  the  essence 
of  spruce,  was  also  put  on  board,  besides  a  number  of  other  extra 
stores  adapted  to  cold  climates  and  a  long  voyage.  The  anti- 
scorbutics consisted  of  lemon-juice  (which  forms  a  part  of  the  daily 
rations  on  board  His  Majesty's  ships),  vinegar,  sour-krout,  pickles, 
and  herbs  ;  and  the  whole  of  the  provisions,  which  were  of  the 
very  best  quality,  were  stowed  in  tight  casks,  to  preserve  theni 
from  moisture  or  other  injury.  As  a  matter  of  experiment,  a  small 
quantity  of  vinegar,  in  a  highly- concentrated  state,  recommended 
and  prepared  by  Doctor  Bollman,  was  also  put  on  board,  and 
was  found  of  essential  service,  the  greater  part  of  the  com- 
mon kind  being  destroyed  by  the  severity  of  the  frost.  In  order 
to  save  stowage,  only  a  small  proportion  of  biscuit  was  received  ; 
flour,  which  had  been  previously  kiln-dried  with  great  care,  being 
substituted  in  its  place.  For  the  purpose  of  baking  for  the  daily  con- 
sumption of  the  crews  during  the  winter  months,  a  portable  oven  was 
furnished  to  the  Hecla ;  and  after  a  good  leaven  had  been  once 
obtained,  we  found  no  difficulty  in  baking  light  and  wholesome  bread, 
even  in  the  severest  part  of  the  season.     The  ships  were  ballasted 


INTRODUCTION.  .Y 

entirely  with  coals,  (of  which  the  Hecla  stowed  seventy,  and  t||e 
Griper  thirty-four  chaldrons),  together  with  such  a  quantity  of  fire- 
wood as  was  necessary  for  the  stowage  of  the  casks  in  the  holds. 

To  add  to  our  warmth,  and  to  keep  out  the  snow  during  the  winter, 
a  housing-cloth  was  prepared  of  the  same  materials  as  that  with 
which  waggons  are  usually  covered,  and  which  being  laid  on  planks, 
supported  amidships  by  spars  lashed  fore  and  aft  between  the  masts, 
and  resting  with  their  lower  ends  on  the  gunwale,  completely  answered 
the  purpose  for  which  it  was  intended. 

Care  was  taken  to  provide  abundance  of  warm  clothing, 
and  one  suit  of  the  best  quality  was  liberally  furnished  for 
each  man  employed  in  the  Expedition,  to  be  served  gratis  at  my 
discretion.  Among  the  numerous  articles  of  this  kind  which  con- 
tributed essentially  to  our  comfort,  a  wolf-skin  blanket  was  supplied 
for  each  officer  and  man,  which,  in  addition  to  those  of  the  common 
sort,  effectually  kept  the  people  warm  in  their  beds,  although  from 
the  necessary  economy  in  fuel,  the  temperature  of  the  decks  was 
frequently  much  below  the  freezing  point  during  the  nights. 

To  be  prepared  against  the  chances  of  meeting  with  any  natives  in  the 
countries  which  we  were  about  to  visit,  the  ships  were  directed  to  be 
furnished  with  a  large  quantity  of  various  kinds  of  presents,  both  to  se- 
cure their  friendship,  and  to  purchase  any  supplies  of  which  we  might 
stand  in  need.  In  short,  nothing  was  omitted  which  could  in  any 
degree  tend  to  the  success  of  the  enterprise,  or  to  the  health,  con- 
venience, and  comfort  of  those  engaged  in  it.  I  feel  myself  par- 
ticularly indebted  to  the  kindness  of  Commissioner  Cunningham, 
and  the  officers  employed  under  him    in  the  different  departments 


VI  INTRODUCTION. 

of  the  dock-yard  at  Deptford,  in  complying  with,  and  even  anti- 
cipating, my  wishes  for  the  promotion  of  these  objects.  My  thanks 
are  also  due,  in  an  especial  manner  to  my  friend  Captain  Henry 
Garrett,  agent  victualler  at  that  port,  whose  ready  attention  to  all 
our  wants  in  his  public  department,  could  only  be  equalled  by  the 
warm  hospitality  we  experienced  from  him  during  the  time  of  our 
equipment. 

While  care  was  thus  taken  that  nothing  should  be  wanting  to  ensure 
the  success  of  the  Expedition  in  its  main  object,  the  improvement  of 
geography  and  navigation,  as  well  as  the  general  jnterests  of  science, 
were  considered  as  of  scarcely  less  importance.  For  this  purpose,  a 
number  of  valuable  instruments,  (of  which  a  list  is  subjoined),  were 
furnished  to  each  ship ;  and  Captain  Sabine,  of  the  Royal  Artillery,  who 
was  recommended  by  the  President  and  Council  of  the  Royal  Society, 
was  embarked  on  board  the  Hecla,  as  Astronomer  to  the  Expedition. 

Previously  to  our  leaving  Deptford,  the  ships  were  visited  by 
Viscount  Melville,  who  presided  at  the  Admiralty,  as  well  as  by 
several  of  the  Lords  Commissioners,  and  by  the  Comptroller  of  the 
Navy,  who  were  pleased  to  express  their  satisfaction  at  the  manner  in 
which  their  directions  and  intentions  had  been  complied  with  in  the 
general  equipment  of  the  Expedition.  On  the  2d  of  May,  I  repaired 
to  the  Admiralty,  to  receive  their  Lordships'  final  Instructions  for  the 
conduct  of  the  Expedition,  a  copy  of  which  immediately  precedes  the 
Narrative. 


INTRODUCTION.  VII 

List  of  the  Instruments^  ^c.  embarked  on  board  each  of  the  two  Ships. 

Those  marked  with  an  Asterisk  were  furnished  to  the  Hecla  only. 

*  2  Astronomical  Clocks,  with  stands. 

11  Chronometers  on  board   the   Hecla,  and  four   on  board  the 
Griper. 

*  1  Transit  instrument. 

*  1   Portable  observatory. 

*  1  Repeating  circle. 

1  Dipping-needle.      *  A  second  ditto,   the  property  of   Henry 
Browne,  esq. 

*  1  Instrument  for  magnetic  force,  on  Captain  Kater's  improved 

construction. 

*  1  Variation  transit. 

*  1  Variation  needle. 

4  Azimuth  compasses,  on  Captain  Kater's  improved  construction. 

1  Dip-sector,  invented  by  Dr.  Wollaston. 

2  Mountain  barometers. 
2  Marine  ditto. 

2  Altitude  instruments,  invented  by  Captain  Kater. 
i  Theodolite. 

2  Anglometers. 

1   Circular  protractor. 

3  Artificial  horizons. 
1  Hydrometer. 

1  Water-bottle,  invented  by  Dr.  Marcet. 
10  Thermometers. 

*  4f  Self-registering  ditto,  (Sixe's),  with  iron  cases  for  fastening  to 

the  deep-sea  lead. 

*  2  Electrometers,  with  chains. 

Together  with  a  complete  set  of  drawing  instruments,  scales,  beam- 
compasses,  <^c.  for  the  construction  of  charts. 


Viil  INTRODUCTION. 

'f?5'  On  our  return  to  England,  in  the  beginning  of  November,  1820, 
all  the  journals,  logs,  charts,  and  drawings,  which  had  been  furnished 
by  every  individual  belonging  to  the  Expedition,  were  delivered  to  the 
Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty,  to  be  at  their  disposal;  and 
their  Lordships  were  pleased  immediately  to  direct  them  to  be  returned 
into  my  hands,  for  the  purpose  of  preparing  for  publication,  under 
their  authority,  an  official  account  of  the  voyage. 

In  performing  this  duty,  it  has  been  my  earnest  endeavour  equally 
to  avoid,  on  the  one  hand,  a  too  minute  and  tedious  detail  of  occur- 
rences, which,  as  the  materials  for  a  future  account,  properly  form  a 
part  of  a  manuscript  journal,  but  which,  if  given  in  their  original 
form,  would  only  serve  to  tire  by  their  repetition ;  and  on  the  other, 
to  omit  nothing  which  came  under  my  notice,'  and  that  may  be  con- 
sidered interesting,  either  by  the  scientific  or  the  general  reader.     It 

;>^*feaving  been  suggested  to  me  that  both  these  purposes  would  be  best 
answered  by  throwing  into  an  Appendix  the  whole  of  the  matter 
which  relates  exclusively  to  geography,  natural  history,  and  the  details 
of  scientific  observations,  this  method  has  been  adopted ;  except  in 
a  few  cases,  in  which  it  was  considered  expedient,  for  elucidating  the 
subject  under  consideration,  to  introduce  a  brief  notice  of  them  into 
the  body  of  the  work,  without  occasioning  any  material  interruption 
in  the  Narrative. 

The  following  account  of  the  proceedings  of  the  Expedition  is  taken 
principally  from  the  official  Journal  kept  by  myself  on  board  the 
Hecla,  and  always  written  within  twenty-four  hours  after  the  occur- 
rence of  the  events  recorded  in  it.  In  several  instances,  however, 
I  have  been  happy  to  avail  myself  of  the  journals  or  reports  furnished 
by  the  other  officers,  in  all  which  cases  the  obligation  is  acknowledged 


INTRODUCTION.  IX 

by   inverted  commas,  and   by  personally  mentioning  the  individual 
who  supplied  the  account. 

The  various  observations  made  on  board  the  Hecla  during  the 
voyage,  have  been  carefully  collected  into  tables  on  the  model  of 
those  of  Wales  and  Bayly,  by  Captain  Sabine,  to  whom  I  am  in- 
debted for  the  arrangement  of  nearly  the  whole  of  the  Appendix, 
and  for  the  superintendence  of  that  part  of  the  work  during  its 
progress  through  the  press.  I  feel  it  no  less  a  duty  than  a  pleasure 
to  acknowledge  that,  in  the  performance  of  this  task,  Captain  Sabine 
has  added  another  to  the  many  obligations  I  owe  him,  for  his  va- 
luable advice  and  assistance  during  the  whole  course  of  this  voyage, 
to  the  credit  of  which  his  individual  labours  have  so  essentially 
contributed.  Of  the  manner  in  which  the  subject  of  natural  his- 
tory, contained  in  the  Appendix,  has  been  treated  by  those  gen- 
tlemen who  did  me  the  favour  to  undertake  the  examination  and 
description  of  the  specimens  brought  home  by  the  Expedition,  it 
does  not  become  me  to  speak;  but  I  may  be  permitted  to  offer 
them  my  best  acknowledgments  for  the  very  handsome  and  ready 
manner  in  which  they  rendered  me  their  assistance  on  this  oc- 
casion. 

The  Drawings  made  by  Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner  were  put 
into  the  hands  of  skilful  engravers,  soon  after  the  arrival  of  the  ships 
in  the  River,  such  of  them  being  selected  for  publication  as  were 
considered  most  likely  to  afford  interest  or  entertainment.  It  must 
be  confessed,  however,  that  there  is  little  in  the  scenery  of  the  Polar 
regions  on  which  the  art  of  the  painter  can  be  exercised  with  ad- 
vantage ;  and  the  opportunities  were  necessarily  the  less  frequent 
on  the  late  voyage,  in  consequence  of  the  length  of  time  which  we 


X  INTRODUCTION. 

were  confined  to  one  spot.  Of  the  merit  of  the  drawings  made  by 
Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner,  I  am  not  a  competent  judge, 
further  than  as  regards  the  accuracy  and  faithfulness  of  the  delineation ; 
and  to  this  I  am  anxious  to  bear  the  most  unqualified  testimony, 
no  less  than  to  the  zeal  and  industry  displayed  by  these  gentlemen* 
whenever  opportunities  offered  of  performing  this  branch  of  their, 
duty,  in  compliance  with  their  Lordships'  Instructions  on  that 
head. 

The  Charts  contained  in  this  volume,  comprising  surveys  of  every 
coast  visited  by  the  Expedition  during  the  voyage,  are  reduced 
from  those  drawn  on  board  the  Hecla  under  my  immediate  in- 
spection, by  Mr.  Bushnan,  Midshipman  of  that  ship,  a  gentleman 
well  skilled  in  the  construction  of  charts,  and  in  the  art  of  marine 
surveying.  The  original  charts  are  lodged  in  the  Hydrographical 
Office  of  the  Admiralty,  together  with  a  detailed  account  of  all 
the  angles  and  other  materials  used  in  their  construction.  As  it 
was  known  that  no  reliance  could  be  placed  on  the  compasses  from 
the  spot  where  our  discoveries  commenced  (namely,  from  the 
entrance  of  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  westward),  it  was  deter- 
mined, from  the  first,  altogether  to  reject  magnetic  bearings  in 
the  construction  of  the  charts,  using  only  those  deduced  astrono- 
mically from  the  sun's  altitude  and  azimuth,  together  with  its  angular 
distance  from  the  object  whose  true  bearing  was  required.  Astro- 
nomical bearings  were  always  thus  obtained  at  the  same  time  with 
observations  for  latitude  and  longitude.  Whenever  it  was  considered 
expedient  to  take  them  at  other  times,  the  log  was  of  necessity  re- 
sorted to,  in  order  to  obtain  the  ship's  place  from  the  nearest 
observation;  and  when  this  time  happened   to  fall  nearly  midway 


INTRODUCTION.  Xf 

between  two  observations,  the  mean  of  the  reckoning,  worked 
backwards  and  forwards,  was  taken,  to  fix  the  ship's  place.  In  the 
selection  of  angles  for  the  construction  of  the  charts,  those  have,  for 
obvious  reasons,  been  preferred,  which  were  most  easterly  or  westerly, 
when  an  observation  for  latitude  was  made ;  and  those  which  were 
most  northerly  or  southerly,  at  the  time  of  an  actual  observation 
for  determining  the  longitude.  When  angles  only  were  taken,  that 
is,  when  the  sun  was  obscured  so  as  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  ob- 
taining his  altitude  and  azimuth,  the  angles  were  used  by  laying  them 
off  from  one  or  more  points,  whose  geographical  position  had  been 
previously  fixed  ;  and  by  this  means,  in  many  instances,  the  former 
angles  have  been  found  to  correspond  and  intersect  accurately,  when 
there  would  otherwise  have  been  considerable  doubt  as  to  the  exact 
place  of  the  ship.  The  observations  for  latitude  and  longitude  have 
been  seldom  or  never  made  by  less  than  two,  and  frequently  by 
three  or  four,  observers,  and  a  mean  of  these  used  in  the  con- 
struction of  the  chart.  The  observers  were  generally  Captain 
Sabine,  Lieutenant  Beechey,  Mr.  Hooper,  and  myself;  the  angles 
were  taken  with  a  sextant;  sometimes  by  myself,  and  sometimes  by 
Lieutenant  Beechey,  to  whose  skill  and  industry  in  this  depart- 
ment of  my  duty,  I  am  happy  to  acknowledge  myself  very  materially 
indebted. 

A  detailed  account  having  been  given  by  Captain  Sabine  in  the 
Appendix,  of  the  chronometers  used  in  obtaining  the  longitudes  for 
the  survey,  and  of  the  mode  of  correcting  their  rates,  it  is  unne- 
cessary for  me  to  add  any  thing  on  that  subject,  the  care  which  has 
been  bestowed  upon  them  being  sufficiently  apparent  on  an  inspection 
of  the  tables.     In  the  daily  winding  of  the  chronometers,  Captain 


Xil  INTRODUCTION. 

Sabine  was  assisted  by  Mr.  Hooper,  purser  of  the  Hecla,  a  gentleman 
to  whose  zeal  and  exertions,  during  a  period  of  three  years  that 
we  have  been  employed  together  on  this  service,  I  am  more  indebted 
than  I  can  adequately  express.  By  those  who  have  been  accustomed 
to  the  charge  of  chronometers  for  any  length  of  time,  and  who 
know  the  weight  and  importance  of  that  charge,  it  will  be  considered 
as  deserving  no  small  credit  on  the  part  of  these  gentlemen,  that,  for 
a  period  of  nearly  twenty  months,  during  which,  eleven  chronometers 
were  on  board  the  Hecla,  only  two  instances  occurred  of  a  single; 
chronometer  being  suffered  to  go  down  by  neglect.  >..p.  VT 

The  observations  for  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle,  made  on 
board  the  ships,  have  been  altogether  omitted  in  the  course  of  the 
narrative ;  because,  until  a  correction  for  the  effects  of  local  attraction 
has  been  applied,  they  give  little  or  no  information  as  to  the  true 
amount ;  the  whole,  therefore,  have  been  referred  to  the  Appendix, 
in  the  order  in  which  they  were  taken.  A  number  of  these,  obtained 
for  the  express  purpose  of  ascertaining  the  amount  of  the  ship's 
attraction  upon  the  needle,  with  her  head  placed  in  different  di- 
rections, and  when  the  dip  and  true  variation  were  known,  will  be 
found  useful,  perhaps,  towards  establishing  some  general  formula  for 
the  correction  of  those  errors  at  sea.  Such  a  formula,  however,  is 
the  less  important  from  the  facility  with  which  the  amount  of  this 
irregularity  may  at  almost  any  time  be  found,  when  the  sun  is  visible, 
by  taking  azimuths  on  a  north  and  south  magnetic  course,  in  order  to 
obtain  the  true  variation,  and  then  upon  any  other  required  direction 
of  the  ship's  head.  For  the  purposes  of  navigation,  indeed,  it  is 
generally  necessary  only  to  ascertain  the  variation  to  be  allowed  on 
one  or  more  courses,  without  regard  to  the  true  amount.     This  is  par- 


INTRODUCTION.  XIU 

ticularly  the  case  when  magnetic  bearings  are  made  use  of  in  the 
construction  of  a  chart,  a  mode  of  surveying  which,  of  course, 
will  only  be  resorted  to  when  absolutely  necessary.  In  such  cases, 
it  will  be  proper  to  observe  the  variation  of  the  needle  upon  the 
same  course  as  that  on  which  the  bearings  are  taken  ;  by  this  means 
a  degree  of  correctness  may  be  attained,  which  would  be  little 
expected  by  those  who  are  unaccustomed  to  adopt  this  precautiouj^ 
and  most  of  those  errors  avoided,  which  it  has  been  usual  to  attri-fi 
bute  to  a  defect  in  the  compasses. 

To  avoid  unnecessary  repetition  in  the  course  of  the  following 
Narrative,  it  must  be  remarked  that  all  the  bearings  are  the  true  ones, 
unless  otherwise  expressly  noticed ;  and  the  whole  of  the  latitudes  are 
North,  and  the  longitudes  West  from  the  meridian  of  Greenwich.  The 
temperatures  were  registered  entirely  by  Fahrenheit's  thermometer, 
and  it  may  be  necessary  to  inform  the  general  reader,  that  the 
signs  +  and  —  preceding  any  number  of  degrees,  signify  above  or 
below  zero  of  that  scale.  .; 

The  temperature  of  the  sea  at  different  depths  was  obtained,  unless 
otherwise  noticed,    by  Sixe's  self-registering  thermometer,    confined 
in  an  iron  case,  and  attached  to  the  deep-sea  lead.     The  bottle  used 
for  bringing  up  water  from   different  depths  below  the  surface,  was 
invented  by  Doctor  Marcet,  expressly  for  the  use  of  this  Expedition<Lt 
It  consists  of  a  strong  and  heavy  cylindrical  box  of  cast  iron,  having 
a  small  aperture  at  each  end ;  through  these  apertures  passes  a  bolt 
which,  when  let  down   into   its  place,  completely   closes  them,  but 
when  held  up  by  means  of  a  catch  in  the  upper  part  of  the  box,  o 
allows  the  water  to  pass  through  them  freely,   both  at  the  top  and,>2 
bottom.    Being  thus  set,  it  is  let  down  to  any  depth  required,  byo 


XIV  INTRODtJC'riON. 

a  line  passing  through  a  hole  in  a  spherical  iron  weight  about 
the  size  of  a  four-pounder  shot,  which  is  retained  on  board  till 
the  instrument  is  low  enough ;  the  weight  is  then  let  go,  and 
running  rapidly  down  the  line,  strikes  the  catch  so  as  to  release 
it,  and  close  the  apertures,  confining  the  water  which  has  entered 
the  cylinder.  This  instrument,  from  its  extreme  simplicity,  and 
the  certainty  with  which  it  obtains  the  water  from  a  known  depth, 
seems  the  best  of  any  which  has  yet  been  adopted  for  this 
purpose. 

Care  has  been  taken  to  avoid,  as  much  as  possible,  the  use  of  technical 
expressions,  which  might  serve  to  render  the  Narrative  unintelligible 
to  any  but  seamen  :  as,  however,  such  expressions  cannot  at  all 
times  be  dispensed  with,  especially  in  the  navigation  among  ice, 
the  nature  of  which  is  totally  different  from  any  other,  I  have  sub- 
joined an  Explanation  of  the  few  terms  of  this  kind  which  occur 
in   the  course  of  my  Journal. 

I  had  once  thought  to  have  cursorily  drawn  up  a  connected  Nar- 
rative of  the  numerous  efforts  and  the  results  of  former  Expedi- 
tions sent  out,  by  this  country  and  other  maritime  nations,  to  ex- 
plore the  Arctic  regions,  from  the  earliest  periods  to  the  present 
time ;  but  as  this  would  have  occupied  a  considerable  space,  and, 
after  all,  would  have  been  but  a  brief  abstract  of  what  Forster, 
Burney,  and  Barrow,  have  already  done,  it  appeared,  on  second 
thoughts,  a  superfluous  undertaking.  My  motive  indeed,  it  must  be 
frankly  owned,  was  rather  of  a  selfish  kind,  the  gratification  of  myself 
and  comrades,  by  thus  bringing  together  the  repeated  exertions  of 
two  centuries,  and  those  of  a  single  voyage,  and  by  instituting  a  com- 
parison of  their  results,   so  favourable  and  so  flattering  to  all  of  us 


INTRODUCTION.  W 

who  had  the  good  fortune  to  be  employed  on  that  voyage.  Here, 
however,  I  must  be  permitted  to  say  that,  whatever  the  extent 
of  our  success  may  have  been,  it  is  to  be  ascribed,  in  a  great 
degree,  to  the  zealous  and  cordial  cooperation  of  Lieutenant 
Liddon  and  all  the  officers  of  both  ships,  and  the  uniform  good 
conduct  of  the  men,  to  all  of  whom,  collectively  and  indivi- 
dually, I  am  most  happy  in  availing  myself  of  this  opportunity, 
of  publicly  rendering  that  justice  which  is  so  eminently  their 
due. 

In  closing  this  introductory  part  of  the  work,  I  would  willingly 
offer  a  few  words  by  way  of  apology,  for  the  many  faults  which,  I 
am  but  too  well  convinced,  will  be  found  in  the  stile  of  the 
Narrative.  It  has  been  said,  "  Les  marins  ecrivent  mal,  mats  avec 
assez  de  candeur"  None  can  feel  more  deeply  than  myself  the  truth  of 
the  former  part  of  this  assertion ;  and  none,  I  can  with  equal  sincerity 
aver,  have  studied  more  to  deserve  the  concluding  part;  but  I 
build  my  chief  hopes  of  disarming  the  severity  of  criticism,  on  a 
consideration  of  that  early  period  of  life  at  which  the  nature  of 
our  profession  calls  us  from  our  studies,  and  which,  in  my  own 
case,  drew  me  away  at  the  age  of  twelve,  and  has  kept  me 
constantly  employed  at  sea  ever  since.  The  extent  of  my  aim  has 
been,  to  give  a  plain  and  faithful  account  of  the  facts  which  I 
collected,  and  the  observations  which  were  made  by  myself  and 
others,  in  the  course  of  the  voyage ;  and  these,  as  far  as  they  go,  may 
be  relied  on  as  scrupulously  exact.  It  is  for  others,  better  qualified 
than  ourselves,  to  make  their  deductions  from  those  facts. 

We  collected,  and  have  brought  home,  specimens  of  the  natural 
productions  of  those  seas  and  islands  which  we  visited  ;  marking  with 


XVI  INTRODUCTION. 

care  the  places  at  which  they  were  respectively  procured ;  and  it 
is  hoped,  that  the  papers  in  the  Appendix,  relating  to  Natural  History, 
will  shew  that  no  great  loss  to  that  branch  of  science  has  been 
sustained,  by  the  absence  of  a  professional  naturalist  in  the  Expe- 
dition. In  fact,  Captain  Sabine,  in  a  great  degree,  supplied  the 
place  of  a  person  of  this  description  ;  and  to  him,  in  particular, 
the  Appendix  will  shew,  that  science  and  philosophy  stand  greatly 
indebted  for  a  collection  of  facts  and  experiments,  in  a  part  of  the 
world  hitherto  but  little  known,  and  never  before  visited  by  Eu- 
ropeans. 


~:i^)iMir*m'i<!^i  hmmlkf  -■ 


EXPLANATION  OF  TECHNICAL  TERMS 

MADE  USE  OF  IN  THE   COURSE   OF  THE 
FOLLOWING  NARRATIVE. 


Bay-Ice. — Ice  newly  formed  upon  the  surface. 

Beset. — The  situation  of  a  ship,  when  so  closely  surrounded  by  ice,  as  to  prevent  her 
sailing  about. 

Bight. — An  indentation  in  a  floe  of  ice,  like  a  bay,  by  which  name  it  is  sometimes  called. 

Blink. — A  peculiar  brightness  in  the  atmosphere  which  is  almost  always  perceptible  in 
approaching  ice,  or  land  covered  with  snow. — Land-blink  is  usually  more  yellow 
than  that  of  ice. 

Bore. — The  operation  of  "  boring"  through  loose  ice  consists  in  entering  it  under  a  press 
of  sail,  and  forcing  the  ship  through  by  separating  the  masses. 

Clear  Water. — The  sea  unincumbered  with  ice. 

Crow's-]^ EST. — A  circular  house,  like  a  cask^  fixed  at  the  mast-head,  in  which  the  look- 
out man  sits,  either  to  guide  the  ship  through  the  ice,  or  to  give  notice  of 
whales. 

Dock. — An  artificial  dock  is  formed  by  cutting  out  with  saws  a  square  space  in  a  thick 
floe,  in  which  a  ship  is  placed,  in  order  to  secure  her  from  the  pressure  of  other 
masses  which  are  seen  to  be  approaching,  and  which  might  otherwise  endanger 
her  being  "  nipped." — A  "  natural  dock"  is  simply  a  small  bight,  accidentally 
found  under  similar  circumstances. 

Field. — A  sheet  of  ice,  generally  of  great  thickness,  and  of  such  extent  that  its  limits 
cannot  be  seen  from  a  ship's  mast-head. 

Floe. — The  same  as  a  field,  except  that  its  extent  can  be  distinguished  from  a  ship's  mast- 
head.— A  "  bay-floe"  is  a  floe  of  ice  newly  formed  upon  the  surface. 

A  Hole,  or  Pool  of   Wa  ter. — A  small  space   of  clear  water,   surrounded  by  ice  on 

every  side. 

Land  Ice. — Ice  attached  to  the  land,  either  in  floes,  or  in  heavy  grounded  masses,  forced 
up  near  the  shore  by  external  pressure. 


XVIU  EXPLANATION    OF    TECHNICAL    TERMS. 

A  Lead. — A  channel  through  the  ice. — A  ship  is  said  to  take  a  right  lead,  when  she 
follows  that  channel  which  conducts  her  into  a  clear,  or  at  least,  a  navigable 
sea,  and  vice  versa. 

Nipped. — To  be  forcibly  pressed  between  two  or  more  masses  of  ice. 

A  Pack. — A  large  body  of  loose  ice,  whose  extent  caimot  be  seen. 

A  Patch  of  Ice. — The  same  as  a  pack,  but  of  small  dimensions. 

Sailjng-Ice. — Ice  of  which  the  masses  are  so  much  separated,  as  to  allow  a  ship  to  sail 
among  them  without  great  difficulty. 

A  Tongue. — A  mass  of  ice  projecting  under  water,  in  a  horizontal  direction,  from  an  ice- 
berg or  floe. — A  ship  sometimes  grazes,  or  is  set  fast  on  a  tongue  of  ice, 
which  may,  however,  generally  be  avoided,  being  easily  seen  in  smooth  water. 

A  Water-Ukt. — A  certain  dark  appearance  of  the  sky  which  indicates  clear  water  in  that 
direction,  and  which,  when  contrasted  with  the  blink  over  ice,  or  land,  is  very 
conspicuous. 

Young  Ice. — The  same  as  bay-ice. 


su'MmiXiSV  '■'i^ 


OFFICIAL   INSTRUCTIONS. 


By  the  Commissioners  for  executing  the  Office  of 
Lord  High  Admiral  of  the  United  Kingdom 
of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  <^c.  ^c. 


Whereas  we  have  thought  fit  to  appoint  you  to  the  command 
of  an  Expedition,  for  the  purpose  of  endeavouring  to  discover  a 
North- West  Passage  from  the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific  Ocean  ;  you 
are  hereby  required  and  directed  to  put  to  sea  in  the  Hecla,  and, 
in  company  with  the  Griper,  which,  with  her  commander  Lieutenant 
Liddon,  has  been  placed  under  your  orders,  make  the  best  of 
your  way  to  the  entrance  of  Davis'  Strait. 

On  your  arrival  in  this  Strait,  your  further  proceedings  must  be 
regulated  chiefly  by  the  position  and  extent  of  the  ice;  but,  on 
finding  it  sufficiently  open  to  permit  your  approach  to  the  western 
shores  of  the  Strait,  and  your  advance  to  the  northward  as  far  as 


XX  OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 

the  opening  into  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  you  are  to  proceed 
in  the  first  instance  to  that  part  of  the  coast,  and  use  your  best 
endeavours  to  explore  the  bottom  of  that  Sound ;  or,  in  the  event 
of  its  proving  a  strait  opening  to  the  westward,  you  are  to  use  all 
possible  means,  consistently  with  the  safety  of  the  two  ships,  to 
pass  through  it,  and  ascertain  its  direction  and  communications ; 
and  if  it  should  be  found  to  connect  itself  with  the  northern  sea, 
you  are  to  make  the  best  of  your  way  to  Behring's  Strait. 

Ifj  however,  you  should  ascertain  that  there  is  no  passage  through 
Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  but  that  it  is  enclosed  by  continuous 
land,  or  so  completely  blocked  up  with  ice  as  to  afford  no  hope 
of  a  passage  through  it,  you  are  in  that  case  to  proceed  to  the  north- 
ward, and  in  like  manner  examine  Alderman  Jones's  Sound.  Fail- 
ing to  find  a  passage  through  this  Sound,  you  are  to  make  the 
best  of  your  way  to  Sir  Thomas  Smith's  Sound,  which  is  described 
by  Baffin  as  the  largest  in  the  whole  bay;  and  carefully  explore, 
as  far  as  practicable,  every  part  of  it,  as  well  as  of  any  strait  you 
may  discover,  leading  from  it  into  any  other  sea.  On  failing  to  make 
a  passage  through  this  Sound,  you  are  to  return  to  the  southward 
down  Baffin's  Bay,  and  endeavour  to  make  your  way  through  Cum- 
berland Strait,  or  any  opening  in  that  neighbourhood  which  may 
lead  you  to  the  seas  adjoining  the  eastern  or  northern  coast  of 
America ;  you  are  then,  by  whatever  course  you  may  have  reached 
these  seas,  to  pursue  your  voyage  along  that  coast,  to  the  northward 
or  westward  to  Behring's  Strait.  .tAf-fp^sMVi-v.fti  ^^■fiffir,^'^fif^f.,^^ 
iUiWe  have  hitherto  supposed  that,  on  your  first  arrival  in  Davis' 
Strait,  the  navigation  to  the  northward  shall  be  found  practicable. 
If,  however,  you  should  find  the  contrary  to  be  the  case,  and  that 


OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 


the  sea  towards  the  western  side  of  the  Strait  is  so  loaded  with  ice, 
as  to  render  it  difficult  and  dangerous  for  the  ships  to  proceed  so 
far  to  the  northward  as  Lancaster  Sound,  at  so  early  a  period  of 
the  season ;  it  may  be  advisable,  in  that  case,  to  endeavour  in  the 
first  instance,  to  examine  Cumberland  Strait,  or  any  other  opening 
that  may  be  likely  to  ^bring  you  to  the  eastern  coast  of  America, 
in  preference  to  the  loss  of  time  and  the  danger  to  the  ships, 
which  might  be  occasioned  in  persevering  too  anxiously  in  the  at- 
tempt to  get  to  Lancaster  Sound;  and  should  you,  on  your  first 
reaching  Davis'  Strait,  find  it  to  be  impracticable  to  make  your 
way  up  the  western  side  of  the  Strait  to  that  Sound,  or  even  to 
Cumberland  Strait,  you  will  understand,  that  you  are  at  liberty 
to  proceed  towards  those  places,  going  round  by  a  more  easterly  track, 
if  the  state  of  the  ice,  and  all  other  circumstances,  should  induce  you 
to  think  it  most  advisable  to  do  so.  Thus,  although  the  track, 
which  we  wish  you  to  pursue,  if  practicable,  is  pointed  out ;  you 
will,  nevertheless,  perceive,  that  the  course  to  be  finally  adopted 
by  you  for  getting  to  the  northward,  is,  in  fact,  left  to  your  own 
discretion,  on  a  careful  examination  into  the  state  of  the  ice  on 
your  arrival  in  Davis'  Strait ;  always  bearing  in  mind,  that,  it  is 
an  important  object  of  the  Expedition,  that  Lancaster  Sound  be 
thoroughly  examined  by  you,  and  afterwards  those  of  Jones  and 
Smith,  if  you  should  have  failed  in  previously  finding  a  passage  to 
the  westward.  .  :,  .; 

Should  you  be  so  successful  as  to  find  a  passage  to  the  westward,' 
it  will  be  advisable  to  make  the  best  of  your  way,  without  stopping 
to  examine  any  part  of  the  northern  coast  of  America,  to  Behring's 
Strait;    and    if  you   should    fortunately    accomplish    your    passage 


XXll  OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 


through  that  Strait,  you  are  then  to  proceed  to  Kamtschatka  (if 
you  think  you  can  do  so  without  risk  of  being  shut  up  by  the  ice 
on  that  coast),  for  the  purpose  of  deliv.ering  to  the  Russian  Governor, 
duplicates  of  all  the  Journals  and  other  documents  which  the  passage 
may  have  supplied,  with  a  request  that  they  may  be  forwarded 
over-land  to  St.  Petersburgh,  to  be  conveyed  from  thence  to  London. 
From  Kamtschatka  you  will  proceed  to  the  Sandwich  Islands,  or 
Canton,  or  such  other  place  as  you  may  think  proper,  to  refit  the 
ships  and  refresh  the  crews ;  and,  if  during  your  stay  at  such  place, 
a  safe  opportunity  should  occur  of  sending  papers  to  England,  you 
should  send  duplicates  by  such  conveyance.  And,  after  having  re- 
fitted and  refreshed,  you  are  to  lose  no  time  in  returning  to  England, 
by  such  route  as  you  may  deem  most  convenient. 

If,  at  any  period  of  your  voyage,  but  particularly  after  you  shall 
haye  doubled  the  north-eastern  extremity  of  America,  the  season 
shall  be  so  far  advanced  as  to  make  it  unsafe  to  navigate  the  ships,  on 
account  of  the  long  nights  having  set  in,  and  the  sea  not  being  free 
from  ice ;  and  the  health  of  your  crews,  the  state  of  the  ships,  and  all 
concurrent  circumstances,  should  combine  to  induce  you  to  form  the 
resolution  of  wintering  in  those  regions,  you  are  to  use  your  best  eji* 
deavours  to  discover  a  sheltered  and  safe  harbour,  where  the  ships 
may  be  placed  in  security  for  the  winter;  taking  such  measures  for 
the  health  and  comfort  of  the  people  committed  to  your  charge,  as 
the  materials  with  which  you  are  supplied  for  housing-in  the  ships,  or 
hutting  the  men  on  shore,  may  enable  you  to  do.  And,  if  you  shall 
find  it  expedient  to  resort  to  this  measure,  and  you  should  meet  with 
any  inhabitants,  either  Esquimaux  or  Indians,  near  the  place  where 
you  winter,  you  are  to  endeavour,  by  every  means  in  your  power,  to 


OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS.  XXIII 

» 

cultivate  a  friendship  with  them,  by  making  them  presents  of  sucli 
articles  as  you  may  be  supplied  with,  and  which  may  be  useful  or 
agreeable  to  them.  You  will,  however,  take  care  not  to  suffer  yourself 
to  be  surprised  by  them,  but  use  every  precaution,  and  be  constantly 
on  your  guard  against  any  hostility.  \*'o'-    ^ 

You  will  endeavour  to  prevail  on  them,  by  such  reward,  and  to  be 
paid  in  such  manner,  as  you  may  think  best  to  answer  the  purpose,  to 
carry  to  any  of  the  settlements  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company,  or  of 
the  North- West  Company,  an  account  of  your  situation  and  pro- 
ceedings ;  with  an  urgent  request  that  it  may  be  forwarded  to  England 
with  the  utmost  possible  despatch. 

In  an  undertaking  of  this  description,  much  must,  of  course,  be  always 
left  to  the  discretion  of  the  commanding  officer ;  and,  as  the  objects 
of  this  Expedition  have  been  fully  explained  to  you,  and  you  have 
already  had  some  experience  on  service  of  this  nature,  we  are  con- 
vinced we  cannot  do  better  than  leave  it  to  your  judgment,  when  on 
the  spot,  in  the  event  of  your  not  making  a  passage  this  season,  either 
to  winter  on  the  coast,  with  the  view  of  following  up  next  season, 
any  hopes  or  expectations  which  your  observations  this  year  may 
lead  you  to  entertain,  or  to  return  to  England,  to  report  to  us  the 
result  of  such  observations;  always  recollecting  our  anxiety  for  the 
health,  comfort,  and  safety  of  yourself,  your  officers,  and  men ;  and 
further  considering  how  far  the  advantage  of  starting  next  season 
from  an  advanced  position,  may  not  be  counter-balanced  by  what 
may  be  suffered  during  the  winter,  and  by  the  want  of  such  re- 
freshment and  refitting,  as  would  be  afforded  by  your  return  to 
England. 
^^,  We  deem    it    right  to   caution   you   against    suffering   the    two 


XXIV  OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 

vessels  placed  under  your  orders  to  separate,  except  in  the  event 
of  accident  or  unavoidable  necessity,  and  we  desire  you  to  keep 
up  the  most  unreserved  communications  with  the  commander  of 
the  Griper;  placing  in  him  every  proper  confidence,  and  ac- 
quainting him  with  the  general  tenor  of  your  orders,  and  with 
your  views  and  intentions,  from  time  to  time,  in  the  execution 
of  them;  that  the  service  may  have  the  full  benefit  of  your 
united  efi"orts  in  the  prosecution  of  such  a  service;  and  that, 
in  the  event  of  unavoidable  separation,  or  of  any  accident  to 
yourself,  Lieutenant  Liddon  may  have  the  advantage  of  knowing, 
up  to  the  latest  practicable  period,  all  your  ideas  and  inten- 
tions, relative  to  a  satisfactory  completion  of  this  interesting  under- 
taking. 

'f*  We  also  recommend,  that  as  frequent  an  exchange  take  place, 
as  conveniently  may  be,  of  the  observations  made  in  the  two 
ships ;  that  any  scientific  discovery  made  by  the  one  be,  as 
quickly  as  possible,  communicated  for  the  advantage  and  guidance 
of  the  other,  in  making  their  future  observations ;  and  to  increase 
the  chance  of  the  observations  of  both  being  preserved. 
;'«i  We  have  caused  a  great  variety  of  valuable  instruments  to  be  put 
on  board  the  ships  under  your  orders ;  of  which  you  will  be  furnished 
with  a  list,  and  for  the  return  of  which  you  will  be  held  responsible  ; 
and  we  have  also,  at  the  recommendation  of  the  President  and  Council 
of  the  Royal  Society,  ordered  to  be  received  on  board  the  Hecla, 
Captain  Sabine,  of  the  Royal  Artillery,  who  is  represented  to  us  as 
a  gentleman  well  skilled  in  Astronomy,  Natural  History,  and  various 
branches  of  knowledge,  to  assist  you  in  making  such  observations  as 
may  tend  to  the  improvement  of  Geography  and  Navigation,  and  the 


OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS.  XXV 

advancement  of  science  in  general.  Amongst  other  subjects  of  scien- 
tific inquiry,  you  will  particularly  direct  your  attention  to  the  variation 
and  inclination  of  the  magnetic  needle,  and  the  intensity  of  the  mag- 
netic force ;  you  will  endeavour  to  ascertain  how  far  the  needle  may 
be  affected  by  the  atmospherical  electricity,  and  what  effect  may  be 
produced  on  the  electrometer  and  magnetic  needle  on  the  appearance 
of  the  Aurora  Borealis.  You  will  keep  a  correct  register  of  the  tem- 
perature of  the  air,  and  of  the  sea,  at  the  surface  and  at  different 
depths.  You  will  cause  the  dip  of  the  horizon  to  be  frequently 
observed  by  the  dip  sector,  invented  by^  Dr.  Wollaston  ;  and  ascer- 
tain what  effect  may  be  produced  by  measuring  that  dip  across  fields 
of  ice,  as  compared  with  its  measurement  across  the  surface  of  the 
open  sea.  You  will  also  cause  frequent  observations  to  be  made  for 
ascertaining  the  refraction,  and  what  effect  may  be  produced  by 
observing  an  object,  either  celestial  or  terrestrial,  over  a  field  of  ice, 
as  compared  with  objects  observed  over  a  surface  of  water :  together 
with  such  other  meteorological  remarks  as  you  may  have  opportunities 
of  making.  You  are  to  attend  particularly  to  the  height,  direction, 
and  strength  of  the  tides,  and  to  the  set  and  velocity  of  the  currents  ; 
the  depth  and  soundings  of  the  sea,  and  the  nature  of  the  bottom ; 
for  which  purpose  you  are  supplied  with  an  instrument  better  calcu- 
lated to  bring  up  substances  than  the  lead  usually  employed  for  this 
purpose. 

And  you  are  to  understand,  that  although  the  finding  a  passage  from 
the  Atlantic  to  the  Pacific  is  the  main  object  of  this  Expedition,  yet, 
that  the  ascertaining  the  correct  position  of  the  different  points  of  the 
land  on  the  western  shores  of  Baffin's  Bay,  and  the  different  observa- 
tions you  may  be  enabled  to  make  with  regard  to  the  magnetic  influ- 

(I 


XXVI  OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 

ence  in  that  neighbourhood,  supposed  to  be  so  near  the  position  of 
one  of  the  great  magnetic  poles  of  the  earth,  as  well  as  such  other 
observations  as  you  may  have  opportunities  of  making  in  Natural 
History,  Geography,  ^c,  in  parts  of  the  globe,  ^c,  little  known, 
must  prove  most  valuable  and  interesting  to  the  science  of  our 
country;  and  we,  therefore,  desire  you  to  give  your  unremitting 
attention,  and  to  call  that  of  all  the  officers  under  your  command,  to 
these  points;  as  being  objects  likely  to  prove  of  almost  equal  import- 
ance to  the  principal  one  before-mentioned,  of  ascertaining  whether 
there  exist  any  passage  to  the  northward,  from  the  one  ocean  to  the 
other. 

For  the  purpose,  not  only  of  ascertaining  the  set  of  the  currents  in 
the  Arctic  Seas,  but  also  of  affording  more  frequent  chances  of  hear- 
ing of  your  progress,  we  desire  that  you  do,  frequently  after  you  have 
passed  the  latitude  of  65°  north,  and  once  every  day,  when  you  shall 
be  in  an  ascertained  current,  throw  overboard  a  bottle,  closely  sealed, 
and  containing  a  paper  stating  the  date  and  position  at  which  it  is 
launched ;  and  you  will  give  similar  orders  to  the  Commander  of  the 
Griper,  to  be  executed  in  case  of  separation ;  and,  for  this  purpose, 
we  have  caused  each  ship  to  be  supplied  with  papers,  on  which  is 
printed,  in  several  languages,  a  request,  that  whoever  may  find  it 
should  take  measures  for  transmitting  it  to  this  office. 

And  although  you  are  not  to  be  drawn  aside  from  the  main  object  of 
the  service  on  which  you  are  employed,  as  long  as  you  may  be 
enabled  to  make  any  progress ;  yet,  whenever  you  may  be  impeded 
by  the  ice,  or  find  it  necessary  to  approach  the  coasts  of  the  continent 
or  islands,  you  are  to  cause  views  of  bays,  harbours,  headlands,  ^c, 
to  be  carefully  taken,  to  illustrate  and  explain  the  track  of  the  vessels. 


'  OFFICIAJ*  INSTRUCTIONS.  XXVll 

or  such  charts  as  you  may  be  able  to  make ;  in  which  duty  you  will  be 
assisted  by  Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner,  whose  skill  in  drawing 
is  represented  to  be  so  considerable,  as  to  supersede  the  necessity  of 
appointing  professional  draughtsmen. 

You  are  to  make  use  of  every  means  in  your  power  to  collect  and 
preserve  such  specimens  of  the  animal,  mineral,  and  vegetable  king- 
doms, as  you  can  conveniently  stow  on  board  the  ships ;  and  of  the 
larger  animals  you  are  to  cause  accurate  drawings  to  be  made,  to 
accompany  and  elucidate  the  descriptions  of  them  :  in  this,  as  well  as 
in  every  other  part  of  your  scientific  duty,  we  trust  that  you  will 
receive  material  assistance  from  Captain  Sabine.  .^ 

In  the  event  of  any  irreparable  accident  happening  to  either  of  the 
two  ships,  you  are  to  cause  the  officers  and  crew  of  the  disabled  ship 
to  be  removed  into  the  other ;  and  with  her  singly  to  proceed  in  pro- 
secution of  the  voyage,  or  return  to  England,  according  as  circum- 
stances shall  appear  to  require ;  understanding  that  the  officers  and 
crews  of  both  ships  are  hereby  authorized  and  required  to  continue  to 
perform  their  duties,  according  to  their  respective  ranks  and  stations, 
on  board  either  ship  to  which  they  may  be  so  removed,  in  the  event 
of  an  occurrence  of  this  nature.  Should,  unfortunately,  your  own 
ship  be  the  one  disabled,  you  are,  in  that  case,  to  take  the  command 
of  the  Griper  ;  and,  in  the  event  of  any  fetal  accident  happening  to 
yourself,  Lieutenant  Liddon  is  hereby  authorized  to  take  the  command 
of  the  Hecla,  placing  the  officer  of  the  Expedition,  who  may  then  be 
next  in  seniority  to  him  in  command  of  the  Griper  ;  also,  in  the  event 
of  your  own  inability  by  sickness  or  otherwise,  at  any  period  of  this 
service,  to  continue  to  carry  these  Ipstructions  into  execution,  you  are 
t^  transfer  them  to  the  officer  the  next  in  conunand  to  you  employed 


OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 


on  the  Expedition,  who  is  hereby  required  to  execute  them  in  the.uf 
best  manner  he  can,  for  the  attainment  of  the  several  objects  in  ft, 
view. 

His  Majesty's  Government  having  appointed  Lieutenant  Franklin 
to  the  command  of  an  expedition  to  explore  the  northern  coast  of 
North  America,  from  the  mouth  of  the  Copper-mine  River  of  Hearne ; 
it  would  be  desirable,  in  the  event  of  your  touching  on  that  coast,  to 
leave  some  testimonial  of  your  having  been  there,  with  the  date,  and 
such  circumstances  as  you  may  find  convenient,  for  the  lieutenant's 
information ;  and  you  will  do  the  same  wherever  you  may  stop  on 
that  coast,  by  erecting  a  pole,  having  a  flag,  or  some  other  mark  by 
which  it  may  be  distinguished  at  a  distance,  (and  you  should  endea- 
vour to  place  such  mark  on  the  situation  in  which  it  may  be  most  ex- 
tensively visible,)  and  burying  a  bottle  at  the  foot  of  it,  or  otherwise, 
containing  an  abstract  of  your  proceedings  and  future  intentions ; 
corresponding  instructions  having  been  given  to  Lieutenant  Franklin 
to  leave  a  similar  notice  at  any  convenient  part  of  the  coast  which 
he  may  discover  between  the  mouth  of  the  said  river  and  the  eastern 
part  of  North  America. 

You  are,  while  executing  the  service  pointed  out  in  these  Instruc- 
tions, to  take  every  opportunity  that  may  offer  of  acquainting  our 
Secretary,  for  our  information,  with  your  progress :  and  on  your  arrival 
in  England,  you  are  immediately  to  repair  to  this  office,  in  order  to 
lay  before  us  a  full  account  of  your  proceedings  in  the  whole  course 
of  your  voyage  ;  taking  care,  before  you  leave  the  ship,  to  demand 
from  the  officers,  petty  officers,  and  all  other  persons  on  board,  the 
logs  and  journals  they  may  have  kept ;  together  with  any  drawings 
or  charts  they  may  have  made  ;  which  are  all  to  be  sealed  up ;  and 


OFFICIAL    INSTRUCTIONS. 


XXIX 


and  you  will  issue  similar  directions  to  Lieutenant  Liddon  and  his  '^ 
officers,  i^c. ;  the  said  logs,  journals,  or  other  documents,  to  be  there-  > 
after  disposed  of  as  we  may  think  proper  to  determine. 

'  Given  under  our  hands  the  1st  day  of  May,  1819. 

jam/-  (Signed)  Melville,  liioH 

G.  MooRE,  '  ^^"ovf  a 
M-gmfsd  1U0X  }'     G.  CocKBURN. 


Bi/  Command  of  their  Lordships, 


(Signed) 


J.  W.  Croker. 

•-  sfljt  no 


'  vsra  ii  iiDfxfw 
■Iq  vi  Tjjov 


'Bol  oi 


To  ^1   io  ja; 

Lieutenant  William  Edward  Party  , 

Commanding     His     Mcfjesty  s 
Ship  the  Hecla. 

ma  Aih  liqoi  9V^ 


'   >ns  uoY 

■.a 

III 

-■-,'    !;.^..w  io 

:>  3i{ijnri,oi^ 
4  hoB  gTjoi 


bn£  ^  qu  b9l-B98  9d  oJ  Ua  siu  ibuiw  |  Qham  9¥fid  -^sra  ^od^  gJierio  lo 


VOYAGE   OF   DISCOVERY. 


VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


OF  A 


NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE. 


CHAPTER  I. 

PASSAGE    ACROSS    THE    ATLANTIC ENTER     DAVIs'     STRAIT UNSUCCESSFUL 

ATTEMPT  TO  PENETRATE  THE    ICE    TO    THE  WESTERN  COAST VOYAGE    UP 

THE     STRAIT PASSAGE     THROUGH    THE    ICE    TO    THE    WESTERN    COAST 

ARRIVAL  OFF  POSSESSION  BAY,  ON  THE  SOUTHERN  SIDE  OF  THE  ENTRANCE 
INTO    SIR    JAMES    LANCASTER'S    SOUND. 

1  HE  Hecla  and  Griper  were  ready  to  drop  down  the  river  in  the  early  part  1819. 
of  April ;  but,  the  wind  continuing  to  the  eastward,  the  pilots  would  not  v^.^ 
venture  to  turn  them  down.  The  wind  remained  in  the  same  quarter  till  the 
beginning  of  May,  beyond  which  time  it  would  not  have  been  prudent  to 
delay  our  moving.  Application  was,  therefore,  made  for  a  steam-boat  to  tow 
the  ships  to  Northfleet,  and  on  the  4th,  at  eight  A.M.,  the  Hecla  was  taken  in 
tow  by  the  Eclipse,  of  sixty-horse  power.  With  a  fresh  breeze  right  a-head, 
she  moved  at  the  rate  of  three  miles  and  a  half  an  hour  through  the  Avater,  and 
was  made  fast  to  the  buoy  at  Northfleet  at  a  quarter  past  noon.  The  steam- 
boat returned  to  Deptford  for  the  Griper,  and  arrived  with  her  at  night. 

The  guns  and  gunner's-stores  were  received  on  baord  on  the  6th ;  and, 
all  the  iron  being  now  stowed,  as  it  would  probably  remain  for  the  rest  of 
the  voyage,  the  afternoon  of  that  day  was  occupied  in  obtaining  some  steady 
observations  on  the  irregularities  of  the  magnetic  needle  on  board  the  Hecla, 
by  turning  her  head  round  to  each  point  of  the  compass  in  succession.  These 
observations  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 


2  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  The  ships  took  their  powder  on  board  on  the  7th,  and  moved  to  the  LoAver- 
x,,^^  Hope.  On  the  evening  of  the  following  day  they  anchored  at  the  Nore, 
where  the  instruments  and  chronometers  were  embarked.  I  furnished  Lieu- 
tenant Liddon  with  a  complete  copy  of  the  Instructions  which  I  had  received 
from  the  Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty,  together  with  an  order 
containing  general  directions  for  the  economical  use  of  the  provisions  and 
stores,  and  for  the  mode  of  registering  the  various  observations  to  be  made 
during  the  voyage  ;  appointing  also  certain  places  of  rendezvous  in  case  of 
unavoidable  separation. 

Captain  Sabine  went  on  shore  at  Garrison-Point,  on  the  9th,  to  make  ob- 
servations on  the  magnetic  force  with  some  needles  of  a  new  construction  by 
Captain  Henry  Kater.  Of  these  observations  an  account  by  Captain  Sabine 
will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 

Commissioner  Boyle  came  on  board  on  the  evening  of  the  10th,  to  superin- 
tend the  payment  of  the  arrears  of  wages,  and  three  months'  advance,  to  the 
seamen  and  marines.  On  the  following  day,  when  the  men  had  supplied 
themselves  with  a  sufficient  stock  of  clothes,  according  to  a  list  which  had 
been  previously  issued,  the  ships  weighed  at  ten  A.M.,  and  at  noon  were 
abreast  the  Nore-light.  The  wind  being  free,  the  Hecla,  at  sunset,  had  out- 
sailed the  Griper  about  three  miles. 

Wed.  12.  Finding  the  Griper  continued  to  detain  us  this  morning,  I  determined  to 
take  her  in  tow,  and  at  three  P.M.  we  ran  through  Yarmouth  Roads,  but 
anchored  in  the  evening  with  the  flood-tide,  the  wind  being  too  light  to 
enable  the  ships  to  stem   it.      Soon  after  midnight  we  again  weighed,  the 

Frid.  14.  wind  having  got  round  to  the  N.b.W^.  On  the  morning  of  the  14th,  in 
beating  to  the  northward,  the  Hecla  touched  the  ground  on  the  east  end  of 
Sheringham-Shoals,  Cromer  Light-house  bearing  S.b.E.  per  compass.  The 
pilot  should  not  have  brought  it  to  the  eastward  of  south,  on  which  bearing 
there  is  no  danger.  Finding  the  ships  made  no  way,  and  that  it  would 
not  be  practicable  to  anchor  with  the  lee-tide,  we  bore  up  for  Yarmouth 
Roads,  and  anchored  within  the  Cockle  Gat  at  two  P.M. 

Sat.  15.  At  noon  on  the  following  day,  while  getting  under  way,  I  received  a 
visit  from  Captain  Wells,  of  His  Majesty's  sloop  the  Wye,  who  kindly  offered 
every  assistance  in  his  power,  and  sent  us  our  last  supply  of  English  beef, 
as  we  passed  his  ship.      A  favourable  breeze  springing  up  on  the  morning  of 

Sun.  16.  the  16th,  the  Griper  was  taken  in  tow,  and  at  two  P.M.  on  the  19th,  we  made 

Wed.  19.  Fair  Island. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  3 

It  fell  calm  in  the  evening,  and  several  fine  cod  fQadus  MorhuaJ  and  coal- 
fish  fGadus  Carbonarius)  were  caught ;  the  centre  of  the  island  bearing  N.E. 
half  N.  per  compass,  distant  eight  or  nine  miles.  This  was  the  last  supply 
of  fresh  fish  that  we  obtained  during  the  voyage.  It  was  light  enough  at  mid- 
night, to  see  Fair  Island  distinctly  at  the  distance  of  ten  miles. 

On  the  20th,  we  spoke   the  Danish  brig  David  Eske,  from  Copenhagen,  Thur.  20. 
bound  to  Disko  Island.      The  Griper  was  taken  in  tow  again  in  the  evening, 
and  we  rounded  the  northern-point  of  the  Orkneys,  at  the   distance  of  two 
miles  and  a  half,  having  from  thirty  to  thirty-six  fathoms  of  water. 

We  made  the  island  of  Rona  on  the  21st.,  and  Bara  on  the   following  Fnd.  21. 
morning.     The  position  of  these  islands  by  our  observations  is  :  Sat.  22. 

BARA.  RONA. 

Latitude,     ...     59°  04'  24".  59°  05'  54". 

Longitude,       .     .       6°  14'  34".  5°  52'  04". 

As  we  ran  along  to  the  northward  of  them,  at  the  distance  of  six  or  seven 
miles,  the  soundings  were  from  fifty  to  seventy-five  fathoms,  the  deepest 
being  off  Bara,  on  a  bottom  of  gravel,  coarse  sand,  and  broken  shells. 

It  is  recommended  by  the  most  experienced  of  the  Greenland  Masters,  to 
cross  the  Atlantic  to  Davis'  Strait,  about  the  parallel  of  57|°  or  58°,  and  I 
shaped  our  course  accordingly.  A  bottle  was  thrown  overboard,  containing 
a  printed  paper,  stating  the  date  and  the  situation  of  the  ships,  with  a  request, 
in  six  European  languages,  that  any  person  finding  it  would  forward  it  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Admiralty,  with  a  notice  of  the  time  and  place  where  it  was 
found  *.  One  bottle,  at  least,  was  thrown  out  daily  during  the  voyage,  except 
when  the  ships  were  "  beset"  in  the  ice. 

The  wind  being  right  aft  on  the  morning  of  the  24th,  the  Griper,  still  in  Mon.  24. 
tow,  took  the  wind  out  of  our  sails,  and  forged  a-head,  obliging  us  to  cast 
off  the  hawser.  Soon  after  noon  we  made  Rockall ;  its  latitude,  by  our 
observations,  was  57°  38'  40",  and  its  longitude  13°  47'  42".  The  geogra- 
phical position  of  this  remarkable  rock  was  determined  by  Captain  Capel,  in 
1818,  to  be  lat.  57°  39'  32",  long.  13°  31'  16",  which   is  to  be  preferred  to 

*  The  purpose  intended  to  be  answered  by  this  kind  of  communication,  will  be  best 
understood,  by  referring  to  my  Instructions  from  the  Lords  Commissioners  of  the 
Admiralty. 

B  I 


4  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

ours,  owing  to  the  distance  at  which  we  passed  it.  There  is,  perhaps,  no 
more  striking  proof  of  the  infinite  value  of  chronometers  at  sea,  than  the 
certainty  with  which  a  ship  may  sail  directly  for  a  single  rock  like  this,  rising 
like  a  speck  out  of  the  ocean,  and  at  the  distance  of  forty-seven  leagues  from 
"  any  other  land.  At  seven  P.M.,  the  Griper  having  again  dropped  five  or  six 
miles  astern,  we  hove  to  for  her  to  come  up ;  and,  taking  this  opportunity  to 
try  the  temperature  of  the  water  below  the  surface  by  Six's  self-registering 
thermometer,  we  unexpectedly  obtained  soundings  in  one  hundred  and 
forty  fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  very  fine  white  sand,  Rockall  bearing  S.  85°  E., 
distant  thirty  miles  and  three-quarters.  The  temperature  of  the  water  at  the 
bottom  was  47|°,  that  of  the  surface  being  491°,  and  of  the  air  50°.  The 
Griper  was  again  taken  in  tow,  with  a  breeze  from  the  eastward,  which  in- 

Tues.  25.  creased  to  a  fresh  gale  the  following  morning,  when  the  hawser,  by  which 
we  towed  the  Griper,  gave  way ;  we  hove  to  for  her  in  the  evening,  being 
in  lat.  57°  04'  10",  long.  17°  52'  50",  when  some  water  was  brought  up  from 
one  hundred  fathoms'  depth  in  the  bottle  contrived  by  Doctor  Marcet ;  its 
specific  gravity  was  1.0268,  at  the  temperature  of  58°,  that  of  the  surface 
water  being  the  same.  The  temperature  of  the  water  at  the  same  depth  was 
49°,  that  of  the  surface  being  50°,  and  of  the  air  50|°. 

Tliur.  27.  On  the  27th,  we  cast  off  the  Griper,  and  hauled  a  little  to  the  northward, 
in  order  to  pass  near  the  spot  where  Lieutenant  Pickersgill  obtained  sound- 
ings, from  three  hundred  and  twenty  to  three  hundred  and  thirty  fathoms, 
on  the  29th  of  June,  1776  ;  and,  at  six  P.M.,  being  in  lat.  56°  59' 39",  and 
long,  by  chronometers,  24°  33'  40",  the  deep-sea  clarams  were  sent  down  with 
one  thousand  and  twenty  fathoms  of  line,  without  finding  bottom.  The 
temperature  of  the  sea  at  that  dejith  was  45|°,  that  of  the  surface  being  48|°, 
and  of  the  air  49°. 

Frid.  28.  It  fell  calm  towards  noon  on  the  28th,  the  ship  being  in  lat.  57°  26'  16", 
long.  25°  11'  51".  The  current  was  tried  in  a  boat  moored  by  an  iron  kettle, 
in  the  usual  way,  but  not  the  smallest  stream  was  perceptible.  Six's  ther- 
mometer was  sent  down  to  one  hundred  and  twenty  fathoms,  but  did  not 
indicate  the  temperature,  owing  to  the  mercury  rising  past  the  index,  instead 
of  pushing  it  up  before  it ;  a  failure  1  have  often  had  occasion  to  regret  in 
this  useful  instrument,  when  thus  exposed  to  a  very  sudden  change  of 
temperature.  It  might,  perhaps,  be  improved  for  this  particular  purpose,  by 
making  the  lower  end  of  each  index  a  little  larger,  so  as  to  prevent  the 
passage  of  the  mercury  between  it  and  the  tube.      Some  water,  from  one 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  5 

hundred  and  thirty  fathoms'  depth,  was  at  the  temperature  of  48°  on  coming 
to  the  surface,  that  of  the  surface  being  49°,  and  of  the  air  49°.  Its  specific 
gravity  was  1.0266  at  the  temperature  of  61°,  being  the  same  as  that  of  the 
surface-water. 

The  wind  veered  to  the  westward  on  the  30th,  and  increased  to  a  fresh  Sun.  .30. 
gale,  with  an  irregular  sea,  and  heavy  rain,  which  brought  us  under  our 
close-reefed  topsails.  At  half-past  one,  P.M.,  we  began  to  cross  the  space 
in  which  the  "  Sunken  Land  of  Bus''  is  laid  down  in  Steel's  chart  from 
England  to  Greenland  ;  and,  in  the  course  of  this  and  the  following  day,  we 
tried  for  soundings  several  times  without  success,  the  ship's  position  being 
as  folloAvs: 

LONGITUDE.  FATHOMS. 

-     -     -     ^  29°  30' 160 


LATITUDE, 

57° 

46' 

57 

49 

58 

02 

58 

07 

58 

14 

58 

13 

-  -  -  -  29  22 90 

-  -  -  -  29  32 80 

-  -  -  -  29  34 85 

-  -  -  -  29  46 100 

-  -  -  -  30  52 170 

This  being  the  anniversary  of  His  Majesty's  birth-day,  and  the  weather  Friday4. 
being  calm  and  fine,  I  directed  an  additional  allowance  of  grog  to  be  served 
out,  or,  in  seamen's  phrase,  "  the  main  brace  to  be  spliced."  In  the  evening, 
being  then  in  lat.  55°  01',  and  long.  35°  56',  we  tried  for  soundings  with 
two  hundred  and  fifty  fathoms  of  line,  without  finding  bottom.  The 
temperature  of  the  sea  at  that  depth  was  44|°,  surface  44,j°,  air  43°. 

On  the  7th  and  8th,  we  had  hard  gales  from  the  westward,  with  a  heavy  7  and  8. 
sea.     Indeed,  from  the  1st  to  the  14th  of  June,  we  experienced  a  continued 
series  of  unfavourable   winds  and  unpleasant  weather,  so  that  very  little 
progress  could  be  made  to  the  westward. 

On  the  13th,  being  in  lat.  57°  51',  and  long.  41°  05',  the  temperature  of  Sun.  13. 
the  sea,  at  two  hundred  and  thirty-five  fathoms'  depth,  was  found  to  be 
39°,  surface  40|°,  air  41 1°.  A  very  slight  current  was  found  to  set  to  the 
southward.  We  saw,  to-day,  large  flocks  of  sheerwaters  (Procellaria  PuffinusJ, 
called  by  the  sailors,  "  cape  hens,"  from  an  idea  that  they  are  only  to  be. 
found  near  Cape  Farewell.  I  do  not  remember  to  have  met  with  these  birds 
in  any  other  part  of  Davis'  Strait,  or  in  Baffin's  Bay. 

On  the  15th,  a  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  eastward,  and  at  noon  we  very  Tues.i5. 


6  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

unexpectedly  saw  land  at  a  great  distance,  bearing  due  north.  This  could  be 
no  other  than  the  land  about  Cape  Farewell,  of  which  the  longitude,  by  our 
chronometers,  being  the  same  as  that  of  the  ship,  was  42°  56'  41",  agreeing 
nearly  with  that  given  in  the  tables  of  Maskelyne,  Mendoza  Rios,  and  Robertson, 
and  in  the  Connaissance  des  Terns,  being  from  2°  to  3°  to  the  eastward  of  the  po- 
sition assigned  to  it  in  most  of  the  charts.  This  accounts  for  a  remark,  which  is 
common  among  the  whalers,  that  they  always  make  this  headland  in  coming 
from  the  eastward,  sooner  than  they  expect ;  a  circumstance  which  they  natu- 
rally attribute  to  the  effect  of  a  westerly  current.  If  the  latitude  of  Cape  Farewell 
be  so  far  to  the  northward  as  59°  37'  30'',  which  is  the  mean  of  nine  different 
authorities,  our  distance  from  it  this  day  must  have  been  more  than  forty 
leagues.  It  is  by  no  means  impossible  that  the  bold  land  of  Greenland  may 
be  distinguished  at  so  great  a  distance  ;  and  it  is  proper  to  remark,  that  the 
weather,  at  the  time  we  saw  it,  was  precisely  that  which  is  said  to  be  most 
favourable  for  seeing  objects  at  a  great  distance,  namely,  just  before  or  after 
rain,  when  the  humidity  of  the  atmosphere  increases  its  transparency  *. 
Wed.  16.  The  wind  again  backed  to  the  westward  on  the  16th,  and  we  stretched  to  the 
Thur.  17.  northward  towards  the  land.  On  the  evening  of  the  17th,  being  in  lat.  58°  52', 
and  long.  48°  12',  the  colour  of  the  water  was  observed  to  be  of  a  lighter  green 
than  that  of  the  ocean  in  general ;  but  we  could  find  no  soundings  with  two 
hundred  and  ninety  fathoms  of  line.  The  temperature  of  the  sea  at  that  depth, 
was  38|°,  of  the  surface,  38|,  and  of  the  air,  381°. 
Frid.  18.  Early  in  the  morning  of  the  18th,  in  standing  to  the  northward,  we  fell  in 
with  the  first  "  stream"  of  ice  we  had  seen,  and  soon  after  saw  several  ice- 
bergs. At  daylight  the  water  had  changed  its  colour  to  a  dirty  brownish  tinge. 
We  had  occasion  to  remark  the  same  in  entering  Davis'  Strait  in  1818,  when 
no  difference  in  its  temperature  was  perceptible.  The  temperature  of  the  wa- 
ter this  morning  was  36^°,  being  3°  colder  than  on  the  preceding  night ;  a  de- 
crease that  was  probably  occasioned  by  our  approach  to  the  ice.  We  ran  through 
a  narrow  part  of  the  stream,  and  found  the  ice  beyond  it  to  be  "  packed"  and 
heavy.  The  birds  were  more  numerous  than  usual ;  and,  besides  the  fulmar 
petrels,  boatswains,  and  kittiwakes,  we  saw,  for  the  first  time,  some  rotges 
{"Alca  AlleJ  dovekies,  or  black  guillemots  (Colymbus  GrylleJ  and  terns  (Sterna 
Hirundo,)  the  latter  known  best  to  seamen  by  the  name  of  the  Greenland  swal- 
low.    Soon  after  noon,  being  in  lat.  59°  40',  long.  47°  46',  and  the  water  being 

*  Humboldt.  Personal  Narrative,  I.  pp.  81.  101,  102. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  7 

of  the  same  colour  as  in  the  morning,  we  tried  for  soundings,  but  could  find  no  ^^l^- 
bottom  with  two  hundred  and  sixty  fathoms.  The  temperature  of  the  sea  at  ^,*-t-v.' 
that  depth  was  39°,  that  of  the  surface  being  then  37°,  and  of  the  air  35°.  The 
specific  gravity  of  the  surface  water  which  at  noon  was  1.0262,  at  the  temperature 
of  56",  had  decreased  to  1.0257,  at  that  of  57°.  On  the  19th,  at  noon  we  were  Sat.  19. 
in  latitude,  by  observation  on  the  ice,  59°  48'  26"*,  and  in  longitude,  by  the 
chronometers,  48°  01'  50",  when  a  current  was  found  to  set  S.  50°  W.  at  the  rate 
of  six  miles  per  day.  A  breeze  springing  up  from  the  eastward,  we  bore  away 
to  the  W.N.W.,  through  rather  close  "  sailing  ice."  The  fog  which  had  pre- 
vailed during  the  day  cleared  away  in  the  evening,  and  discovered  to  us  the 
coast  of  Greenland,  bearing  from  N.  3°  W.  to  N.  62°  E.,  at  the  distance  of  twelve 
or  thirteen  leagues.  On  the  following  morning  a  very  remarkable  hill,  being  the  Sun.  20. 
highest  land  in  sight,  was  found,  by  a  base  measured  by  Massey's  patent  log,  to 
be  in  lat.  60°  53'  29 ',  and  long.  48°  42'  22".  This  position  answers  nearly  to  an 
island  called  Nona  in  Arrowsmith's  chart,  a  little  to  the  eastward  of  Cape  De- 
solation. The  water  still  continued  of  the  same  dirty  colour  as  before  ;  but  at 
half  past  four  P.M.,  when  we  hove  to,  for  the  purpose  of  taking  the  Griper  in 
tow,  we  could  find  no  bottom  with  a  hundred  and  forty  fathoms  of  line.  On 
the  evening  of  the  21st,  having  run  to  the  westward  as  far  as  55°  01'  W.  in  the  Mon.  21. 
lat.  of  61°  26';  we  observed  the  colour  of  the  water  to  have  changed  from  the 
brownish  tinge  before-mentioned,  to  a  light  bluish  green  ;  and  it  is  remarkable 
that  its  specific  gravity  was  found  to  have  increased,  within  a  few  hours, 
from  1.0257  to  1.0261,  both  being  at  the  temperature  of  57°  when  weighed. 
These  experiments  seem  to  confirm  those  made  on  the  18th,  and  to  render 
it  highly  probable,  that  the  brown  colour  remarked  in  the  sea  was  occasioned 
by  the  admixture  of  a  large  portion  of  fresh  water,  supplied  by  the  melting 
of  the  snow  and  ice. 

On  the  21st  and  22d,  we  sailed  to  the  W.N.W.  in  an  open  sea ;  and,  onTues.  22. 
the  23d,  at  noon,  being  in  lat.  62°  43'  09",  long.  61°  32'  49",  we  saw  several  Wed.  23. 
icebergs,  and  some  loose  ice,  to  the  north-westward.     We  obtained  soundings 

*  The  ice  here  havmg  a  motion  -which  was  very  perceptible  in  the  artificial  horizon,  we 
had  recourse  to  a  mode  of  observing  the  meridian  altitude,  which  we  had  occasionally 
adopted  in  the  former  voyage.  Two  observers  brought  the  same  limb  of  the  sun  down  in 
separate  horizons ;  the  first  of  these  taking  care  never  to  allow  the  two  images  to  separate 
entirely,  and  the  second  never  permitting  them  to  overlap.  The  mean  of  the  two  ob- 
servations being  then  taken,  the  error  arising  from  the  rolling  motion  of  the  ice  may  thus  be 
in  a  great  measure  obviated,  and  the  altitude  obtained  within  the  nearest  minute. 


8  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    in  the  evening  in  two  hundred  fathoms,  fine  sandy  bottom,  being  close  to  a 
v,,^^  large  iceberg,  from  which  copious  streams  of  water  were  flowing  on  the  side 

next  the  sun. 
Tluir.24.  On  the  clearing  up  of  a  fog,  on  the  morning  of  the  24th,  we  saw  a  long 
chain  of  icebergs,  extending  several  miles  in  a  N.b.W.  and  S.b.E.  direction ; 
and,  as  we  approached  them,  we  found  a  quantity  of  "  floe-ice"  intermixed 
with  them,  beyond  which,  to  the  westward,  nothing  but  ice  could  be  seen. 
At  noon  being  in  lat.  63°  34'  24",  long.  61°  34'  28",  we  had  soundings,  with 
one  hundred  and  twenty  fathoms  of  line,  on  a  bottom  of  fine  sand,  which 
makes  it  probable  that  most  of  the  icebergs  were  aground  in  this  place. 
In  the  afternoon,  we  sailed  within  the  edge  of  the  ice,  as  much  as  a  light 
westerly  wind  would  admit,  in  order  to  approach  the  western  land,  as 
directed  by  my  instructions.  Some  curious  efiects  of  atmospheric  refraction 
were  observed  this  evening,  the  low  ice  being  at  times  considerably  raised 
in  the  horizon,  and  constantly  altering  its  appearance.  An  iceberg,  at  the 
distance  of  two  or  three  njiles  from  us,  assumed  an  inverted  shape,  as  in  the 
,  following  figure  : 

Inverted  Image. 


Iceberg. 


Frid.25,  The  weather  being  nearly  calm  on  the  morning  of  the  25th,  all  the  boats 
were  kept  a-head,  to  tow  the  ships  through  the  ice  to  the  westward.  It 
remained  tolerably  open  till  four  P.M.,  when  a  breeze,  freshening  up  from 
the  eastward,  caused  the  ice  through  which  we  had  lately  been  towing,  to 
close  together  so  rapidly,  that  we  had  scarcely  time  to  hoist  up  the  boats 
before  the  ships  were  immoveably  "  beset."  The  clear  sea  which  we  had 
left  was  about  four  miles  to  the  eastward  of  us,  Avhile  to  the  westward 
nothing  but  one  extensive  field  of  ice  could  be  seen.  It  is  impossible  to 
conceive  a  more  helpless  situation  than  that  of  a  ship  thus  beset,  when  all 
the  power  that  can  be   applied  will  not  alter  the  direction  of  her  head  a 

Sat.  26.  single  degree  of  the  compass.  On  the  26th,  we  were  in  lat.  by  observation, 
63°  59'  29",  and  long.  61°  42'  58",  having  one  hundred  and  twenty-five 
fathoms,  on  a  fine  sandy  bottom.  The  deep-sea  line  indicated  a  drift  to 
the  S.b.W.  Some  of  our  gentlemen,  having  walked  a  mile  or  two  from  the 
ships,   imagined  that  they  saw  the  marks  of  a  sledge  upon  the  ice,  but,  as 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  9 

no  traces  either  of  doars  or  of  one  human  foot  appeared,  they  were  perhaps    1819. 

June. 

mistaken. 


The  observations  made  here  on  the  dip  and  variation  of  the  magnetic 
needle,  and  on  the  intensity  of  the  magnetic  force,  as  well  as  the  result 
of  a  number  of  lunar  distances,  obtained  on  this  and  the  two  following 
days,  while  thus  beset,  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix.  The  wind  increased 
to  a  strong  gale  from  the  northward,  which  continued  the  whole  of  the 
following  day-;  when  we  found  by  observation  that  the  ships  had  drifted  Sun.  27. 
S.  23°  W.,  thirteen  miles  and  a  quarter,  the  soundings  having  decreased  to 
one  hundred  and  twenty  fathoms. 

A  large  black  whale,  (Balcena  MysticetusJ  being  the  first,  was  seen  near 
the  ships.'  It  is  usual  for  these  animals  to  descend  head-foremost,  displaying 
the  broad  fork  of  their  enormous  tail  above  the  surface  of  the  water ;  but, 
on  this  occasion,  the  ice  was  so  close  as  not  to  admit  of  this  mode  of  descent, 
and  the  fish  went  down  tail-foremost,  to  the  great  amusement  of  our  Green- 
land sailors. 

As  long  as  the  wind  continued  to  blow  strong  towards  the  ice,  so  as  to 
keep  it  close,  the  ships  lay  securely  sheltered  from  the  sea ;  but  at  nine  in 
the  evening,  when  it  veered  a  little  to  the  westward,  the  ice  became  more 
slack,  and  we  began  to  feel  the  effects  of  the  swell  which  was  thus  admitted 
from  without :  each  roll  of  the  sea  forced  the  heavy  masses  of  ice  against 
the  rudder  and  counter  with  such  violence  as  would  have  greatly  endan- 
gered a  ship  built  in  the  ordinary  way ;  strengthened  as  ours  were,  however, 
they  escaped  without  damage.  Frequent  endeavours  were  made  to  heave 
the  heads  of  the  ships  round,  in  order  that  they  might  receive  the  heaviest 
pressure  on  their  bows,  but  every  attempt  proved  unsuccessful,  and  we  re- 
mained in  the  same  unpleasant  situation  during  the  whole  of  the  28th.  Mon.  2i. 

While  in  this  state,  a  large  white  bear  came  near  the  Griper,  and  was 
killed  by  her  people,  but  he  simk  between  the  pieces  of  ice.  This  animal 
had,  probably,  been  attracted  by  the  smell  of  some  red  herrings  which  the 
men  were  frying  at  the  time.  It  is  a  common  practice  with  the  Greenland 
sailors  to  take  advantage  of  the  strong  sense  of  smelling  which  these  creatures 
possess,  by  enticing  them  near  the  ships  in  this  manner. 

The  swell  had  somewhat  subsided  on  the  29th,  but  the  ships  remained  Tues.  29. 
firmly  fixed  in  the  ice  as  before.     In  the  course   of  the  day  we   saw  land 
bearing  N.  69°  W.  about  thirteen  leagues  distant,  appearing  from  the  mast- 
head like  a  group  of  islands,  and  situated  near  to  the  entrance  of  Cumber- 

c 


|0  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    land  Strait ;  the  soundings  were  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  fathoms  ;    the 
temperature  of  the  sea  at  that  depth  30°  ;  that  of  the  surface  being  the  same  ; 


Wed.  30.  and  of  the  air  34°.  On  the  30th,  the  ice  began  to  slacken  a  little  more  about 
the  ships  ;  and,  after  two  hours'  heaving  with  a  hawser  on  each  bow  brought 
to  the  capstan  and  windlass,  we  succeeded  in  moving  the  Hecla  about  her  own 
length  to  the  eastward,  where  alone  any  clear  sea  was  visible.  The  ice  con- 
tinuing to  open  still  more  in  the  course  of  the  day,  we  were  at  length 
enabled  to  get  both  ships  into  open  water,  after  eight  hours'  incessant  labour. 
Our  first  attempt  to  approach  the  western  coast  having  thus  failed,  I 
consulted  the  Greenland  Masters,  as  to  what  were  the  most  likely  means 
to  be  adopted  for  effecting  this  object.  Mr.  Allison  thought  it  would 
be  advisable  to  run  a  degree  or  two  back  again  to  the  southward ;  while 
Mr.  Fife  was  of  opinion,  that  it  might  be  attempted,  with  better  chance 
of  success,  about  the  latitude  of  Mount  Raleigh,  which  forms  one  side  of  the 
narrowest  part  of  Davis'  Strait.  I  determined  on  the  latter,  as  being  more 
conformable  to  the  tenor  of  my  instructions  ;  and  a  course  was  accordingly 
shaped  close  along  the  edge  of  the  ice,  which  led  us  considerably  to  the 
eastward  of  north,  in  order  to  take  advantage  of  any  opening  which  might 
occur.  On  getting  into  clear  water,  we  found  that  the  rudders  were  much 
rubbed  by  the  blows  they  had  received  while  beset  in  the  ice. 
July,         On  the  1st  and  2d  of  July,  we  continued  to  keep  close  to  the  edge  of  the 

1st  &  2d.  ice  without  perceiving  any  opening  in  it.  Its  outer  margin  consisted  of  heavy 
detached  masses,  much  washed  by  the  sea,  and  formed  what  is  technically 
called  "  a  pack,"  this  name  being  given  to  ice  when  so  closely  connected  as 
not  to  admit  the  passage  of  a  ship  between  the  masses.  Within  the  margin 
of  the  pack,  it  appeared  to  consist  of  heavy  and  extensive  floes,  having  a 
bright  ice-blink  over  them ;  but  no  clear  water  could  be  discovered  to  the 
westward.  The  birds,  which  had  hitherto  been  seen  since  our  first  approach 
to  the  ice,  were  fulmar  petrels,  little  auks,  looms,  (Uria  Brunnkhii,)  and  a 
few  glaucous  gulls,  (harus  Glaums.) 
Sat.  3.  On  the  morning  of  the  3d  the  wind  blew  strong  from  the  eastward,  with  a 
short  breaking  sea  and  thick  rainy  weather,  which  made  our  situation  for 
some  hours  rather  an  unpleasant  one,  the  ice  being  close  under  our  lee. 
Fortunately,  however,  we  weathered  it  by  stretching  back  a  few  miles  to  the 
southward.  In  the  afternoon  the  wind  moderated,  and  we  tacked  again  to 
the  northward,  crossing  the  Arctic  circle  at  four  P.M.,  in  the  longitude  of 
57°  27'  W.     We  passed  at  least  fifty  icebergs  in  the  course  of  the  day,  many 


vt 


W>J\- 


^ 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  U 

of  them  of  large  dimensions.  At  a  quarter  past  five  P.M.,  we  sounded  in  1819. 
one  hundred  and  fifteen  fathoms  ;  the  water  at  the  surfaee  of  the  sea  had  the  vi^p^ 
same  brownish  tinge  which  has  already  been  noticed,  but  no  difference  in 
its  temperature  or  specific  gravity  could  be  detected.  Towards  midnight, 
the  wind  having  shifted  to  the  south-west,  and  moderated,  another  exten- 
sive chain  of  very  large  icebergs  appeared  to  the  northward :  as  we  ap- 
proached them  the  wind  died  away,  and  the  ships'  heads  were  kept  to  the 
northward,  only  by  the  steerage  way  given  to  them  by  a  heavy  southerly 
swell,  which,  dashing  the  loose  ice  with  tremendous  force  against  the 
bergs,  sometimes  raised  a  white  spray  over  the  latter  to  the  height  of  more 
than  one  hundred  feet,  and  being  accompanied  with  a  loud  noise,  exactly 
resembling  the  roar  of  distant  thunder,  presented  a  scene  at  once  sublime  and 
terrific.  We  could  find  no  bottom  near  these  icebergs  with  one  hundred  and 
ten  fathoms  of  line. 

At  four  A.M.,  on  the  4th,  we  came  to  a  quantity  of  loose  ice,  which  lay  Sun.  4. 
straggling  among  the  bergs ;  and,  as  there  was  a  light  breeze  from  the  southward, 
and  I  was  anxious  to  avoid,  if  possible,  the  necessity  of  going  to  the  eastward, 
I  pushed  the  Hecla  into  the  ice,  in  the  hope  of  being  able  to  make  our  way 
through  it.  We  had  scarcely  done  so,  however,  before  it  fell  calm  ;  when  the 
ship  became  perfectly  unmanageable,  and  was  for  some  time  at  the  mercy  of 
the  swell,  which  drifted  us  fast  towards  the  bergs.  All  the  boats  were 
immediately  sent  a-head  to  tow  ;  and  the  Griper's  signal  was  made,  not  to 
enter  the  ice.  After  two  hours'  hard  pulling,  we  succeeded  in  getting  the 
Hecla  back  again  into  clear  water,  and  to  a  sufficient  distance  from  the 
icebergs,  which  it  is  very  dangerous  to  approach  when  there  is  any  swell. 
At  noon  we  were  in  lat.  66°  50'  47",  long.  56°  47'  56",  being  near  the 
middle  of  the  narrowest  part  of  Davis'  Strait,  which  is  here  not  more  than 
fifty  leagues  across.  Davis,  on  returning  from  his  third  voyage,  sets  it  down 
at  forty  leagues*  ;  and  in  another  place  remarks  :  "  In  the  latitude  of  sixtie- 
seuen  degrees,  I  might  see  America,  west,  from  me,  and  Desolation,  (Green- 
land), eastf ."  The  truth  of  this  last  remark  had  been  much  doubted,  till  the 
observations  made  on  our  expedition  of  1818,  by  determining  the  geographical 
position  of  the  two  coasts  thus  seen  by  Davis,  served  to  confirm  the  accuracy 
of  that  celebrated  and  able  navigator. 

*  Hakluyt's  Collection  of  Voyages. 
t  The  Worlde's  Hi/drographicall  Discription,  1595, 


12  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  On  the  5th,  it  was  necessary  to  pass  through  some  heavy  streams  of  ice, 
^„„^i^  in  order  to  avoid  the  loss  of  time  by  going  round  to  the  eastward.  On  this, 
Mon.  5.  ag  Qjj  jnany  other  occasions,  the  advantage  possessed  by  a  ship  of  considerable 
weight  in  the  water,  in  separating  the  heavy  masses  of  ice,  was  very  apparent. 
In  some  of  the  streams,  through  which  the  Hecla  passed,  a  vessel  of  a 
hundred  tons  less  burthen  must  have  been  immoveably  beset.  The  Griper 
was  on  this,  and  many  other  occasions,  only  enabled  to  follow  the  Hecla  by 
taking  advantage  of  the  openings  made  by  the  latter. 
Tues.  6.  At  noon,  on  the  6th,  being  in  lat.  67°  44'  05 ",  long.  57°  46'  26",  we  had 
soundings  in  one  hundred  and  seventy-two  fathoms,  on  a  bottom'  of 
shining  sand,  mixed  with  small  black  specks.  A  number  of  looms  were 
killed,  which  being  very  good  to'  eat,  were  served  to  the  officers  and 
ship's  company.  A  herd  of  sea-horses  (Trichecus  Roswiarus)  being  seen 
lying  on  a  piece  of  ice,  our  boat  succeeded  in  killing  one  of  them. 
These  animals  usually  lie  huddled  together,  like  pigs,  one  over  the  other, 
and  are  so  stupidly  tame,  as  to  allow  a  boat  to  approach  them,  within  a  few 
yards,  without  moving.  When,  at  length,  they  are  disturbed,  they  dash, 
into  the  water  in  great  confusion.  It  may  be  worth  remarking,  as  a  proof 
how  tenacious  the  walrus  sometimes  is  of  life,  that  the  animal  killed  to-day 
struggled  violently  for  ten  minutes  after  it  was  struck,  and  towed  the 
boat  twenty  or  thirty  yards,  after  which,  the  iron  of  the  harpoon  broke ;  and 
yet  it  was  found,  on  examination,  that  the  iron  barb  had  penetrated  both 
auricles  of  the  heart.  A  quantity  of  the  blubber  was  put  into  casks,  as  a 
winter's  supply  of  lamp-oil. 
Wed.  7.  On  the  7th,  in  standing  to  the  northward,  we  came  to  a  stream  of  ice,  three 
quarters  of  a  mile  wide,  which  obstructed  bur  passage  in  that  direction.  The 
wind  died  away  as  soon  as  we  had  entered  the  stream,  and  it  required  six 
hours'  rowing  in  the  boats  to  tow  the  ships  into  clear  water  beyond  it.  It  is 
curious  to  observe,  in  passing  under  the  lee  of  ice,  however  small  its  extent  or 
height  above  the  sea,  an  immediate  decrease  in  thestrengthof  the  wind.  This 
effect  cannot  be  attributed  to  any  degree  of  shelter  afforded  by  the  ice,  as,  in 
the  cases  to  which  I  allude,  it  is,  perhaps,  not  more  than  a  single  foot  above 
the  surface  of  the  sea.  At  noon,  being  in  lat.,  by  observation,  68°  24'  52",  and 
in  long.  57°  00'  43",  we  obtained  soundings  in  a  hundred  and  seventy-five 
fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  greenish-coloured  mud,  into  which  the  lead  sunk  several 
inches.  At  two  P.M.  a  thermometer  in  the  sun  rose  to  70°,  the  temperature  of 
the  shade  being  44°,  and  the  weather  perfectly  calm  and  cloudless.     The  card 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  13 

commonly  used  in  Walker's  Azimuth  Compass  had  traversed  so  sluggishly  for    1819. 
some  days  past,  that  it  was  now  found  necessary   to  substitute  a  lighter  one,  ^Jtr^ 
supplied  by  the  maker  for  this  purpose.     The  looms  and  tern  were  numerous 
near  the  ice. 

On  the  8th,  at  noon,  we  observed,  in  lat.  68°  30'  01",  and  long.  57°  22'  37",Thurs.  8. 
being  6'  51 "  to  the  southward,  and  9'  53"  to  the  eastward  of  the  dead  reckon- 
ing.    We  sounded  in  a  hundred  and  seventy-eight  fathoms'  water,  the  bottom 
being  of  the  same  nature  as  on  the  preceding  day. 

On  the  9th,  having  reached  the  latitude  of  68°  45'  53",  long.  57°  49'  51",  the  Frid.  9. 
ship  was  found  to  have  made  less  northing  by  eleven  miles  and  three  quarters 
than  the  log  gave.     The  soundings  were  a  hundred  and  fifty-two  fathoms,  the 
lead  being  covered  with  soft  green  mud,  mixed  with  sand  and  gravel. 

Large  flocks  of  tern  and  looms  were  seen  about  the  ice.  A  northerly  wind 
prevented  our  making  much  progress,  for  the  ice  was  still  so  compact  in  every 
part  as  to  render  it  impossible  to  penetrate  to  the  westward  ;  and  nothing, 
therefore,  remained  to  be  done  but  to  make  the  best  way  we  could,  by  beat- 
ing to  the  northward  along  the  edge  of  the  pack. 

On  the  10th  a  thick  fog  came  on,  which  made  great  caution  necessary  in  Sat.  10- 
sailing,  there  being  a  great  many  icebergs  near  us.  There  is,  however,  even 
in  the  thickest  fog,  a  strong  reflection  of  light  from  these  immense  bodies  of 
ice,  which,  with  an  attentive  look-out,  is  generally  visible  at  a  sufficient  dis- 
tance to  enable  the  navigator,  if  in  smooth  water,  to  avoid  coming  in  contact 
with  them. 

At  noon,  the  wind  being  still  against  us,  we  had  only  reached  the  lat.  of 
69°  04'  28",  being  9'  49"  to  the  southward  of  the  dead  reckoning.  The  long,  by  the 
chronometers,  was  58°  10'  30",  being  23'  47"  to  the  eastward  of  the  account  in 
two  days.  We  obtained  soundings  in  a  hundred  and  sixty-seven  fathoms,  on 
a  bottom  of  green  mud,*Avith  a  little  sand  and  gravel.  At  night  the  fog  froze 
as  it  fell  upon  the  rigging,  making  it  difficult  to  work  the  ship  among  the  ice. 
.  A  large  bear  (Urms  MaritimusJ  being  seen  on  a  piece  of  ice,  near  which  we  Sun.  li. 
were  passing  this  morning,  a  boat  was  despatched  in  pursuit,  and  our  people 
succeeded  in  killingand  towing  it  on  board.  As  these  animals  sink  immediately 
on  being  mortally  wounded,  some  dexterity  is  requisite  to  secure  them,  by  first 
throwing  a  rope  over  the  neck,  at  which  many  of  the  Greenland  seamen  are 
remarkably  expert.  It  is  customary  for  the  boats  of  the  whalers  to  have  two 
or  three  lines  coiled  in  them,  which  not  only  gives  them  great  stability,  but, 
with  good  management,  makes  it  difficult  for  a  bear,  when  swimming,  to  put 


1^  VOYAGE  FOE,  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  his  paw  upon  the  gunwale,  which  they  generally  endeavour  to  do  ;  whereas, 
,.^1^^  with  our  boats,  which  are  more  light  and  crank,  and  therefore  very  easily 
heeled  over,  I  have  more  than  once  seen  a  bear  on  the  point  of  taking  pos- 
session of  them.  Great  caution  should,  therefore,  be  used  under  such  circum- 
stances in  attacking  these  ferocious  creatures.  We  have  always  found  a  board- 
ing-pike the  most  useful  weapon  for  this  purpose.  The  lance  used  by  the 
whalers  will  not  easily  penetrate  the  skin,  and  a  musket-ball,  except  when 
very  close,  is  scarcely  more  efficacious. 

We  sounded  at  noon  in  two  hundred  and  two  fathoms,  being  in  lat.  by  ac- 
count, 69°  24'  40",  long.  58°  16'  42",  without  making  any  allowance  for  the 
current,  which,  for  the  three  preceding  days,  appeared  to  have  been  setting 
the  ships  to  the  S.S.E.,  at  the  rate  of  from  eight  to  thirteen  miles  per  day. 

In  the  afternoon,  on  the  clearing  up  of  the  fog,  we  found  ourselves  so  sur- 
rounded by  ice,  in  every  direction,  that  it  became  necessary  to  stretch  to  the 
eastward,  to  avoid  the  risk  of  being  again  beset,  a  circumstance  which  might 
have  occasioned  a  serious  loss  of  time.  A  great  number  of  seals  were  seen  as 
we  sailed  through  the  ice,  but  very  seldom  two  together. 

Mon.  12.  The  weather  was  again  so  thick  on  the  12th,  that  we  could  seldom  see  above 
three  or  four  hundred  yards.  The  sun  being  visible,  however.  Captain  Sabine 
and  myself  left  the  ship,  and  ascended  an  iceberg,  in  order  to  obtain  the  me- 
ridian altitude,  which  gave  us  the  lat.  of  69°  42'  43",  and  which  was  8'  20" 
to  the  southward  of  the  dead  reckoning,  our  longitude,  by  account,  being 
57°  46"  13".  Streams  of  the  purest  water  were  flowing  from  this  berg,  a  luxury 
not  so  often  enjoyed  by  seamen  in  any  other  navigation,  and  which  is,  per- 
haps, of  essential  importance  in  the  preservation  of  health,  were  scurvy  is  the 
disease  most  to  be  apprehended.  The  fog  froze  so  hard  upon  the  sails  and 
rigging  during  the  night,  that  I  believe  some  tons  were  shaken  off  in  the 

Tues.  13.  morning,  to  enable  us  to  handle  the  ropes,  and  to  work  the  ship  with  greater 
facility.  The  fields  of  ice  and  the  icebergs  must  occasionally,  during  the 
summer,  receive  a  considerable  addition  by  this  kind  of  deposit.  Of  the  lat- 
ter when  the  fog  had  cleared  away  for  a  short  time  in  the  evening,  we  counted 
no  less  than  sixty -two  of  large  dimensions,  at  no  great  distance  from  us,  be- 
sides a  number  of  smaller  ones.  We  were,  at  noon,  in  lat.  by  account,  70°  06"  32", 
and  in  long.  57°  33'  56"",  having  a  hundred  and  forty -seven  fathoms'  water,  on 
a  muddy  bottom. 

Wed.  14.  The  weather  continued  so  foggy  on  the  14th,  that  very  little  progress  could 
be  made.     We  caught  some  fine  specimens  of  the  Clio  Borealis,  called  by  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  15 

sailors  whales'  food,  and  also  of  Beroes,  which  were  very  numerous  near  the    jgjg 
surface  of  the  water.  July. 

On  the  15th,  the  fog  being  still  as  thick  as  before,  our  latitude,  observed  on  Thur.  15. 
an  iceberg,  was  70°  28'  52"  ;  while  that  observed  on  board  by  Lieut.  Beechey, 
with  Captain  Kater's  altitude-instrument,  was  70°  27'  43",  the  difference  accord- 
ing exactly  with  the  bearing  and  distance  of  the  iceberg  from  the  ship.  The 
longitude  was  59°  11'  58",  and  the  variation  of  the  needle,  as  observed  upon 
the  ice,  had  increased  to  79°  48'  westerly.  Mr.  Fisher  made  an  experiment 
on  the  specific  gravity  of  berg-ice.  Having  formed  a  piece  of  this  ice  into  a 
cube,  whose  sides  measured  sixty-eight  lines,  he  floated  it  in  a  tub  of  sea- 
water,  of  the  specific  gravity  1.0256,  and  at  the  temperature  of  33°,  when  nine 
lines  remained  above  the  surface  of  the  Avater,  being  nearly  one-eighth. 

On  the  16th,  in  running  along  the  edge  of  the  ice  with  a  fresh  breeze  from  Frid.  16. 
the  south-west,  we  passed  the  Brunswick,  whaler,  of  Hull,  beating  to  the 
southward.  She  crossed  within  hail  of  the  Griper,  and  the  master  informed 
Lieutenant  Liddon  that  he  had,  on  the  11th,  left  a  large  fleet  of  fishing-ships 
about  the  latitude  of  74°,  unable  to  proceed  farther  to  the  northward.  We  had 
been  stopped  in  a  similar  manner,  and  in  the  same  place,  on  the  voyage  of 
1818,  which  renders  it  not  improbable,  that,  at  this  period  of  the  year,  the 
same  obstruction  will  generally  be  found  to  occur  about  that  latitude.  The 
annual  experience  of  the  whalers  has,  indeed,  long  ago,  made  it  evident,  that 
the  facility  with  which  a  ship  may  sail  up  Davis'  Strait,  depends  entirely 
upon  the  season  at  which  the  attempt  is  made.  For  the  first  fortnight  in 
June,  it  i§  seldom  practicable  to  get  much  beyond  the  Island  of  Disko,  or 
about  the  latitude  of  69°  to  70°.  Towards  the  20th  of  that  month,  the  ships 
usually  reach  the  great  inlet,  called  North-East  Bay  ;  and,  by  the  end  of 
June,  the  ice  allows  them,  though  not  without  great  exertion,  to  penetrate 
to  the  Three  Islands  of  Baffin,  which  lie  just  beyond  the  seventy-fourth 
degree  of  latitude.  From  that  time  till  about  the  end  of  August,  the  ice 
presents  almost  daily,  less  and  less  obstruction  ;  so  that,  if  the  object  be 
simply  to  sail  as  far  north  as  possible  into  Baffin's  Bay,  without  regard  to  the 
capture  of  whales,  there  is  every  reason  to  believe  that  a  ship,  entering  Davis' 
Strait  on  the  1st  of  July,  may  sail  into  the  latitude  of  74°  or  75°,  without 
meeting  with  any  detention  on  account  of  the  ice,  and,  perhaps,  without 
even  seeing  the  land  till  she  arrive  in  a  high  latitude. 

On  the  17th,  the  margin  of  the  ice,  appearing  more  open  than  we  had  yet  Sat.  17. 
seen  it,  and  there  being  some  appeai-ance  of  a  "  water-sky"  to  the  north- 


16  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

west,  I  was  induced  to  run  the  ships  into  the  ice,  though  the  weather  was 
too  thick  to  allow  us  to  see  more  than  a  mile  or  two  in  that  direction.  We 
were,  at  noon,  in  latitude  72°  00'  21",  longitude  59°  46'  18",  the  depth  of 
water  being  one  hundred  and  ninety  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom.  The 
wind  shortly  after  died  away,  as  usual,  and,  after  making  a  number  of  tacks, 
in  order  to  gain  all  we  could  to  the  westward,  we  found  ourselves  so  closely 
hemmed  in  by  the  ice  on  every  side,  that  there  was  no  longer  room  to  work 
the  ships,  and  we  therefore  made  them  fast  to  a  floe,  till  the  weather  should 
clear  up.  The  afternoon  was  employed  in  taking  on  board  a  supply  of  water 
from  the  floe.  It  may  be  proper  at  once  to  remark  that,  from  this  time  till 
the  end  of  the  voyage,  snow-water  was  exclusively  made  use  of  on  board  the 
ships  for  every  purpose.  During  the  summer  months,  it  is  found  in  abun- 
dance in  pools  upon  the  floes  and  icebergs,  and  in  the  Winter  snow  was 
dissolved  in  the  coppers  for  our  daily  consumption.  The  fog  cleared  away 
in  the  evening,  when  we  perceived  that  no  further  progress  could  be  made 
through  the  ice,  into  which  we  had  sailed  to  the  westward  about  twelve 
miles.  We  were,  therefore,  once  more  under  the  necessity  of  returning 
to  the  eastward,  lest  a  change  of  v/ind  should  beset  the  ships  in  their 
present  situation.  Previously,  however,  to  our  return,  we  made  some  ob- 
servations, on  the  ice,  for  the  variation  and  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle, 
the  foi-mer  of  which  was  found  to  be  80°  55'  27"  W.,  and  the  latten'84i°  ;4<'  9". 
Sun.  18.  A  thick  fog  came  on  again  at  night,  and  prevailed  till  near  noon  on  the  18th 
when  we  came  to  a  close  but  narrow  stream  of  ice,  lying  exactly  across  our 
course,  and  at  right  angles  to  the  main  body  of  the  ice.  As  this  stream 
extended  to  the  eastward  as  far  as  we  could  see  from  the  "  crow's  nest,"  an 
endeavour  was  made  to  push  the  ships  with  all  sail  through  the  narrowest 
part.  The  facility  with  which  this  operation,  technically  called  "boring,"  is 
perfonned,  depends  chiefly  on  having  a  fresh  and  free  wind,  with  which  we 
were  not  favoured  on  this  occasion ;  so  that,  when  we  had  forced  the  ships  about 
one  hundred  yards  into  the  ice,  their  way  was  completely  stopped.  The 
stream  consisted  of  such  small  pieces  of  ice,  that  when  an  attempt  was  made 
to  warp  the  ships  a-head  by  fastening  lines  to  some  of  the  heaviest  masses 
near  them,  the  ice  itself  came  home,  without  the  ships  being  moved  for- 
ward. Every  effort  to  extricate  them  from  this  helpless  situation  proved 
fruitless  for  more  than  two  hours,  when  the  Hecla  was  at  length  backed  out, 
and  succeeded  in  pushing  through  another  part  of  the  stream  in  which  a  small 
opening  appeared  just  at  that  moment.     All  our  boats  were  immediately 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  17 

despatched  to  the  assistance  of  the  Griper,  which  still  remained  beset,  and  1819. 
which  no  effort  could  move  in  any  direction.  We  at  length  resorted  to  v^^J-^ 
the  expedient  of  sending  a  whale-line  to  her  from  the  Hecla,  and  then 
making  all  sail  upon  the  latter  ship,  we  succeeded  in  towing  her  out,  head 
to  wind,  till  she  was  enabled  to  proceed  in  clear  water.  The  crossing  of 
this  stream  of  ice,  of  which  the  breadth  scarcely  exceeded  three  hundred 
yards,  occupied  us  constantly  for  more  than  five  hours  and  may  ^eive  as  an 
example  of  the  detention  to  which  ships  are  liable  in  this  kind  of  navigation. 
In  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  one  of  the  Hecla's  boats  was  upset  by  the 
ice,  and  Mr.  Palmer,  with  all  her  crew,  thrown  out  of  her;  but,  by  getting 
upon  the  ice,  they  fortunately  escaped  with  no  other  injury  than  a  thorough 
wetting. 

The  wind  having  veered  to  the  northward,  we  tacked  ofF  and  on,  beating  Mon.  19. 
along  the  edge  of  the  ice,  in  which  no  opening  appeared,  to  encourage  a 
hope  of  getting  through  it  to  the  westward.  At  noon  we  had  reached  the 
lat.  of  72°  31'  58",  and  long.  59°  03'  54'",  our  soundings  being  one  hundred 
and  forty-two  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom.  In  the  afternoon,  a  ship 
running  to  the  southward,  and  which  we  supposed  to  be  one  of  the  home- 
ward-bound whalers,  passed  us  at  the  distance  of  seven  miles. 

At  noon,  on  the  20th,  we  were  in  lat.,  by  account,  72°  57'  31 ",  long.  58°  40'  57",  Tue».  20. 
and  the  depth  of  water  was  one  hundred  and  twenty  fathoms,  the  bottom 
consisting  of  mud,  with  small  black  stones.  At  this  time,  the  weather  being 
perfectly  calm,  with  a  thick  fog,  we  perceived  that  a  current,  setting  to  the 
S.S.W.,was  drifting  the  ship  towards  a  large  iceberg  in  that  direction  ;  and  a 
quantity  of  floe-ice,  which  was  driving  the  same  way,  threatened  to  enclose 
us  between  it  and  the  berg.  All  the  boats  were  instantly  lowered,  and  sent 
a-head  to  tow,  by  which  means  we  cleared  the  berg,  just  one  minute  before 
the  floe-ice  came  forcibly  in  contact  with  it,  surrounding  it  on  every  side. 
This  iceberg  was  about  one  hundred  and  forty  feet  high  in  one  part,  and  froiii 
the  soundings  we  obtained  near  it,  must  have  been  aground  in  one  hundred 
and  twenty  fathoms,  so  that  its  whole  height  was  about  eight  hundred  and 
sixty  feet.  The  weather  continued  so  foggy  during  the  rest  of  the  day,  that 
it  required  our  utmost  attention  to  keep  clear  of  the  numerous  ice-bergs  which 
lay  in  our  way. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  21st,  the  fog  cleared  away,  and  discovered  to  wgd.  21. 
us  the  land  called  by   Davis  Hope  Sanderson,  and   the  Woman's  Islands, 
being  the  first  land  we  had  seen  invading  northwards  into  Baffin's  Bay,  from 

D 


IS  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

181.9.  the  lat.  of  63|°.  We  found  ourselves  in  the  midst  of  a  great  number  of 
viiiX/  very  high  icebergs,  of  which  I  counted  from  the  crow's  nest,  eighty-eight, 
besides  many  smaller  ones.  We  tacked  immediately  to  the  westward,  in 
order  to  take  advantage  of  the  only  clear  weather  we  had  enjoyed  for  the 
last  fourteen  days,  to  examine  the  state  of  the  ice,  and  observed  at  noon,  in 
lat.  72°  58'  13",  the  long.,  by  chronometers,  being  58°  42'  11".  The 
soundings  were  two  hundred  and  twenty-eight  fathoms,  muddy-bottom, 
having  deepened  from  one  hundred  and  six,  in  sailing  eight  miles  to  the 
westward. 

Having  now  reached  the  latitude  of  73°,  without  seeing  a  single  opening 
in  the  ice,  and  being  unwilling  to  increase  our  distance  from  Sir  James  Lan- 
caster's Sound,  by  proceeding  much  farther  to  the  northward,  I  determined 
once  more  to  enter  the  ice  in  this  place,  and  to  try  the  experiment  of 
forcing  our  way  through  it,  in  order  to  get  into  the  open  sea,  which  the 
experience  of  the  former  voyage  led  me  to  believe  we  should  find  upon  the 
western  coast  of  Baffin's  Bay.  This  determination  was  strengthened  by  the 
recollection  of  the  serious  obstructions  we  had  met  with  the  preceding 
year,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Prince  Regent's  Bay,  where  greater  detention, 
as  well  as  danger,  had  been  experienced,  than  on  any  other  part  of  that 
coast.  Being  now,  therefore,  favoured  with  clear  weather,  and  a  moderate 
breeze  from  the  south-eastward,  we  ran  into  the  ice,  which,  for  the  first 
two  miles,  consisted  of  detached  pieces,  but  afterwards  of  floes  of  con- 
siderable extent,  and  six  or  seven  feet  in  thickness.  The  wind  died  away 
towards  midnight,  and  the  weather  was  serene  and  clear.  The  altitude  of 
the  sun  on  the  meridian  below  the  pole,  gave  the  latitude  72°  59'  13",  being 
11'  57"  to  the  southward  of  that  deduced  from  the  observations  of  the 
preceding  and  following  noons,  which  error  may,  perhaps,  be  attributed  to  the 
elevation  of  the  horizon  by  terrestrial  refraction.  The  temperature  of  the  air 
at  this  time  was  40° ;  of  the  water,  34°,  and  the  barometer  stood  at  29.57 
inchfes.  A  large  bear  was  seen  on  one  of  the  floes,  and  we  passed  the  tracks 
of  many  others. 
Thur.  22.  On  the  22d.  the  wind  was  light  from  the  eastward,  and  we  made  very 
little  progress.  We  had  occasionally  to  heave  the  ships  through  with 
hawsers,  between  the  heavy  masses  of  ice,  which  became  more  and  more 
close  as  we  advanced,  till,  at  length,  towards  the  evening,  we  were  fairly 
beset,  there  being  no  open  water  in  sight  from  the  mast-head  in  any  quarter 
of  the  compass.     Some  hands  were  kept  constantly  employed  in  heaving 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  19 

the  ships  through  the  ice,  taking  advantage  of  every  occasional  opening  1819- 
which  presented  itself,  by  which  means  we  advanced  a  few  hundred  yards  ^yli,' 
to  the  westward  during  the  night. 

At  six,  A.M.,  on  the  23d,  a  thick  fog  came  on,  which  rendered  it  impos-  Frid.  23. 
sible  to  see  our  way  any  further.  It  often  happens,  in  thick  weather,  that 
much  distance  is  lost  by  ships  taking  a  wrong  "  lead,"  as  the  channels 
between  floes  of  ice  are  technically  called;  so  that,  on  the  weather 
clearing,  it  is  discovered,  when  too  late,  that  another  opening,  perhaps 
a  few  yards  only  from  that  through  which  they  had  sailed,  would  have 
conducted  them  into  clear  water.  We,  therefore,  warped  to  an  iceberg, 
to  which  the  ships  were  made  fast  at  noon,  to  wait  the  clearing  up 
of  the  fog,  being  in  lat.  73°  04-'  10",  long.  60°  09'  07".  The  soundings 
were  one  hundred  and  ninety -seven  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom,  and 
the  variation  of  the  needle  82°  33'  21"  westerly.  Some  observations 
on  the  intensity  of  the  magnetic  force,  by  Captain  Sabine,  will  be  found 
in  the  Appendix.  At  eight,  P.M.,  the  weather  cleared  up,  and  a  few 
small  pools  of  open  water  were  seen  here  and  there,  but  the  ice  was 
generally  as  close  as  before,  and  the  wind  being  to  the  westward  of  north, 
it  was  not  deemed  advisable  to  move.  When  ships  are  thus  beset,  there 
is  a  great  advantage  in  securing  them  to  the  largest  body  of  ice  that  can  be 
found,  and  particularly  to  the  bergs,  as  they  are  by  this  means  better 
enabled  to  retain  their  situation,  the  drift  of  the  ice  being  generally  less, 
in  proportion  to  its  depth  under  water.  Another  advantage  in  securing  a 
ship  to  an  iceberg  is,  that  these  bodies  usually  keep  a  small  space  of  clear 
water  under  their  lee,  in  consequence  of  the  quicker  drift  of  the  floes  and 
loose  ice  to  leeward.  It  not  unfrequently  happens  that  a  ship  is  thus  dragged 
into  clear  water,  as  the  sailors  express  it,  that  is,  that  the  whole  of  the 
floe-ice  is  carried  to  leeward  past  the  berg  to  which  the  ship  is  attached, 
leaving  her  at  length  in  an  open  sea. 

The  ice  appearing  to  open  a  little  in  the  W.N.W.,  on  the  morning  of  the  Sat.  24. 
24th,  preparations  were  made  for  warping  the  ships  in  that  direction,  the 
wind  being  still  to  the  westward  of  north,  but  the  fog  came  on  again  so 
thick,  that  it  was  necessary  still  to  remain  at  the  berg.  At  noon,  by  our 
observations,  we  were  in  lat.  72°  59'  50",  long.  60°  07'  54",  making  a  drift 
of  four  miles  and  two-thirds  in  twenty-four  hours,  in  a  S.  1°  E.  direction. 
The  soundings  had  deepened  to  two  hundred  and  sixty-five  fathoms,  the 
bottom  being  light-green  mud.     The  afternoon  was  occupied   in  obtaining 


20  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819     azimuths   on    board   the   Hecla,  with    her  head  on  different  points  of  the 

July,     compass,  in  order  to  ascertain  the  amount  of  the  irregularities  of  the  magnetic 

needle  produced  by  local  attraction.     These   observations  will  be  found  in 

■  the  Appendix,  and  by  comparison  with  those  previously  made  at  Northfleet, 

will  serve  to  shew  in  what  degree  the  irregularities  alluded  to  had  increased 
with  the  increase  of  dip,  and  with  the  consequent  diminution  in  the 
directive  power  of  the  earth's  magnetism  upon  the  needle. 

Sun.  2.5.  The  weather  being  clear  on  the  morning  of  the  25th,  and  a  few  narrow 
lanes  of  water  appearing  to  the  westward,  the  Griper  was  made  fast  astern 
of  the  Hecla ;  and  her  crew  being  sent  to  assist  in  manning  our  capstan,  we 
proceeded  to  warp  the  ships  through  the  ice.  This  method,  which  is  often 
adopted  by  our  whalers,  has  the  obvious  advantage  of  applying  the  whole 
united  force  in  separating  the  masses  of  ice  which  lie  in  the  way  of  the  first 
ship,  allowing  the  second,  or  even  third,  to  follow  close  astern,  with  very 
little  obstruction.  In  this  manner  we  had  advanced  about  four  miles  to  the 
westward,  by  eight  P.M.,  after  eleven  hours  of  very  laborious  exertion  ;  and 
.  having  then  come  to  the  end  of  the  clear  water,  and  the  weather  being  again 
foggy,  the  ships  were  secured  in  a  deep  "  bight,"  or  bay  in  a  floe,  called  by 
the  sailors  a  "  natural  dock."  An  extra  allowance  of  meat  and  spirits  was 
served  to  the  ship's  companies,  and  all  hands  were  permitted  to  go  to  rest 
till  the  state  of  the  weather  and  of  the  ice  should  become  more  favourable. 

Mon.26.  Early  on  the  morning  of  the  26th,  there  was  clear  water  as  far  as  we 
could  see  to  the  westward,  which  on  account  of  the  fog,  did  not  exceed  the 
distance  of  three  hundred  yards.  We  made  sail,  however,  and  having 
groped  our  way  for  about  half  a  mile,  found  the  ice  once  more  close  in  every 
direction,  except  that  in  which  we  had  been  sailing,  obliging  us  to  make 
the  ships  fast  to  a  floe.  I  sent  a  boat  away  to  endeavour  to  find  a  lane  of 
clear  water  leading  to  the  westward.  She  returned  on  board  in  an  hour, 
without  success,  having  with  difficulty  found  her  way  to  the  ship,  by  our  mus- 
quets,  and  other  signals.  The  latitude  here,  by  obsei-vation,  was  73°  02'  17", 
long.,  by  chronometers,  60°  11'  52",  by  which  the  drift  of  the  ice  in  the  last 
twenty-four  hours  appears  to  have  been  N.  1°  E.,  five  miles  and  three 
quarters,  or  in  a  direction  nearly  opposite  to  that  of  the  wind.  The 
soundings  were  two  hundred  and  eight  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom. 
At  half-past  three,  P.M.,  the  weather  cleared  up,  and  a  few  narrow  lanes 
of  water  being  seen  to  the  westward,  every  exertion  was  immediately  made 
to  get  into  them,  ,  On  beginning  to  heave,  however,  we    found  that   the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  21 

"  hole"  of  water,  in  which  the  Hecla  lay,  was  now  so  completely  enclosed  18I9. 
by  ice,  that  no  passage  out  of  it  could  be  found.  We  tried  every  corner,  ^,lij 
but  to  no  purpose ;  all  the  power  we  could  apply  being  insufficient  to  move 
the  heavy  masses  of  ice  which  had  fixed  themselves  firmly  between  us  and 
the  lanes  of  water  without.  In  the  mean  time.  Lieutenant  Liddon  had 
succeeded  in  advancing  about  three  hundred  yards,  and  had  placed  the 
Griper's  bow  between  two  heavy  floes,  which  it  was  necessary  to  separate 
before  any  further  progress  could  be  made.  Both  ships  continued  to  heave 
at  their  hawsers  occasionally,  as  the  ice  appeared  to  slacken  a  little,  by  which 
means  they  were  now  and  then  drawn  a-head  a  few  inches  at  a  time,  but  did 
not  advance  more  than  half-a-dozen  yards  in  the  course  of  the  night.  By  our 
nearing  several  bergs  to  the  northward,  the  ice  appeared  to  be  drifting  in  that 
direction,  the  wind  being  moderate  from  the  southward. 

About  three  A.M.,  by  a  sudden  motion  of  the  ice,  we  succeeded  in  getting  Tues.  27. 
the  Hecla  out  of  her  confined  situation,  and  ran  her  up  astern  of  the  Griper. 
The  clear  water  had  made  so  much  to  the  westward,  that  a  narrow  neck  of 
ice  was  all  that  was  now  interposed  between  the  ships  and  a  large  open 
space  in  that  quarter.  Both  ships'  companies  were,  therefore,  ordered  upon 
the  ice  to  saw  off  the  neck,  when  the  floes  suddenly  opened  sufficiently  to 
allow  the  Griper  to  push  through  under  all  sail.  No  time  was  lost  in  the 
attempt  to  get  the  Hecla  through  after  her,  but,  by  one  of  those  accidents 
to  which  this  navigation  is  liable,  and  which  renders  it  so  precarious  and  un- 
certain, a  piece  of  loose  ice  which  lay  between  the  two  ships,  was  drawn 
after  the  Griper  by  the  eddy  produced  by  her  motion,  and  completely 
blocked  the  narrow  passage  through  which  we  were  about  to  follow.  Before 
we  could  remove  this  obstruction  by  hauling  it  back  out  of  the  channel,  the 
floes  were  again  pressed  together,  wedging  it  finnly  and  immoveably 
betwixt  them  ;  the  saws  were  immediately  set  to  work,  and  used  with  o-reat 
effect,  but  it  was  not  till  eleven  o'clock  that  we  succeeded,  after  seven  hours' 
labour,  in  getting  the  Hecla  into  the  lanes  of  clear  water  which  opened  more 
and  more  to  the  westward.  Our  latitude,  by  account  at  noon,  was  73°  05' 56 ", 
the  longitude  60°  24!  27". 

Being  now  favoured  with  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  S.E.b.S.,  we  made  con- 
siderable progress,  though  on  a  very  crooked  course,  to  the  northward  and 
westward.  In  one  respect  the  character  of  the  ice  was  here  altered,  as  we 
found  a  great  many  floes  of  "  young"  or  "  bay"  ice,  which  had  probably 
been  newly  formed  in  the  sheltered  situations  afforded  by  the   larger  floes. 


m  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

To  avoid  the  necessity  of  going  round,  or  where  no  other  channel  presented 
itself,  we  ran  through  several  of  these  bay-floes,  which  were  from  four  to  six 
inches  thick,  ploughing  up  the  ice  before  the  ship's  stem,  at  the  rate  of  five 
miles  an  hour.  If  they  were  not  very  broad,  the  Hecla  did  not  lose  her 
Way  in  passing  through  them.  Frequently,  however,  she  was  stopped  in 
the  middle,  which  made  it  necessary  to  saw  and  break  the  ice  a-head,  till 
she  made  another  start,  and,  having  run  a  short  distance  in  clear  water,  was 
again  imbedded  in  the  same  manner.  We  passed  one  field  of  ice,  about  ten 
feet  in  thickness,  and  many  miles  in  length,  as  we  could  not  see  over  it 
from  the  mast-head.     This  was  the  only  "  field,"  according  to  the  definition 

ir-  applied  to  that  term  by  the  whalers,  that  I  had  ever  seen  in  Baffin's  Bay. 

About  eleven  P.M.  the  lanes  of  open  water  a-head  became  very  contracted,  and 
at  half-past  eleven,  in  endeavouring  to  force  through  a  floe,  under  a  heavy  press 
of  canvass,  the  Hecla  was  completely  wedged  in,  having  run  her  own  length 
into  it,  though  its  thickness  was  between  a  foot  and  eighteen  inches.  In  the 
course  of  this  day's  sailing,  the  ships  received  many  severe  blows  from  the 
ice,  but  apparently  suffered  no  damage.  The  concussions  which  the  chrono- 
meters experienced,  were,  perhaps,  such  as  few  watches  of  this  kind  had 
ever  before  been  exposed  to ;  but  we  did  not  subsequently  discover  that  any 
alteration  had  taken  place  in  their  rates,  in  consequence  of  them.  n:,  ,• 

Wed.  28.  The  wind  continued  to  blow  strong  from  the  south-east  with  heavy-rain  ;• 
and  at  half-past  three  A.M.,  after  several  hours'  sawing,  in  which  the  men 
suffered  much  from  wet  and  fatigue,  we  succeeded  in  getting  clear ;  but  after 
'  running  a  quarter  of  a  mile,  Avere  again  beset  in  the  same  manner.  By  the 
time  the  Griper  had  joined  us,  we  had  once  more  unavoidably  hampered  the 
Hecla  among  the  ice,  and  did  not  succeed  in  extricating  her  till  four  P.M., 
after  which  we  found  so  much  clear  water  as  we  proceeded,  that,  with  the 
exception  of  a  few  streams  and  "  patches,"  which  we  met  with  on  the 
following  day,  and  through  which  the  ships  sailed  without  much  difficulty, 
we  had  now  passed  every  impediment  which  obstructed  our  passage  to 
Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound.  The  breadth  of  this  barrier  of  ice,  which 
occupies  the  middle  of  Baffin's  Bay,  and  which  had  never  before  been  crossed 
in  this  latitude  at  the  same  season,  was  eighty  miles,  in  a  N.  63°  W.  direc- 
tion. I  have  been  thus  particular  and  minute,  perhaps  tediously  so, 
in  detailing  our  endeavours  to  obtain  a  passage  through  the  ice  to  the 
western  coast  of  Baffin's  Bay,  in  order  to  shew  how  necessary  it  is  to  per- 
severe and  not  to  be  discouraged  by  frequent  failures,  nor  deterred    from 


'■;.    f): 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  2^ 

entering  the  ice  by  the  apprehension  of  being  beset.  By  taking  advantage 
of  every  little  opening  that  is  afforded,  I  believe  that  a  strong-built  vessel  of 
proper  size  and  weight  may,  in  most  seasons,  be  pushed  through  this  barrier 
which  occupies  the  centre  part  of  Baffin's  Bay,  about  this  parallel  of  latitude. 
It  must,  at  the  same  time,  be  confessed,  that,  had  we  not  been  favoured 
with  strong  south-easterly  winds,  it  would  probably  have  required  several 
days  longer  to  effect  this  passage. 

On  the  29th,  we  had  so  much  clear  water,  that  the  ships  had  a  very  per-  Thur.  29. 
ceptible  pitching  motion,    which,    from  the  closeness  of  the  ice,    does  not 
very  often  occur  in  the  Polar  regions,  and  which  is,  therefore,  hailed  with 
pleasure,  as  an  indication  of  an  open  sea.     At  noon  we  had  reached,  by  the  i 

dead  reckoning,  the  latitude  of  73°  51'  17",  and  longitude  67°  47'  51 ",  and 
we  could  find  no  bottom  with  three  hundred  and  ten  fathoms  of  line.  At 
five  P.  M.  the  swell  increased  considerably,  and,  as  the  wind  freshened  up 
from  the  north-east,  the  ice  gradually  disappeared  ;  so  that  by  six  o'clock  we 
were  sailing  in  an  open  sea,  perfectly  free  from  obstruction  of  any  kind. 
During  the  time  we  had  been  beset  among  the  ice,  the  temperature  of  the 
air,  in  the  shade,  had  varied  from  28°  to  38°,  except  in  very  clear  and  calm 
weather,  when  the  thennometer  had  occasionally  risen  to  4<>i°.  The  tem- 
perature of  the  water  had  been  almost  uniformly  from  31°  to  33°,  but 
soon  after  our  leaving  the  ice  this  evening,  it  increased  to  37°,  which  tem- 
perature continued  for  a  run  of  sixty-three  miles  to  the  westward,  and  then 
fell  to  32°  and  33°,  till  we  had  entered  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound. 

At  four  A.  M.  on  the  30th,  two  or  three  ice-bergs  were  in  sight,  being  the  Frid.  30. 
first  we  had  seen  since  leaving  the  ice  to  the  eastward.  It  is  probable  that 
these,  together  with  some  streams  of  ice  which  occurred  in  the  afternoon,  pro- 
duced the  diminution  in  the  temperature  of  the  sea,  to  which  I  have  alluded 
above,  and  which  took  place  soon  after  noon  on  this  day.  The  Griper  detain- 
ing us  considerably,  and  the  sea  being  now  sufficiently  open  to  allow  us  to 
take  her  in  tow,  we  hove-to  at  nine  A.  M.  for  that  purpose. 

We  now  seemed  all  at  once  to  have  got  into  the  head-quarters  of  the 
whales.  They  were  so  numerous  that  I  directed  the  number  to  be  counted 
during  each  watch,  and  no  less  than  eighty-two  are  mentioned  in  this  day's 
log.  Mr.  Allison,  the  Greenland  master,  considered  them  generally  as 
large  ones,  and  remarked,  that  a  fleet  of  whalers  might  easily  have  obtained 
a  cargo  here  in  a  few  days.  It  is,  I  believe,  a  common  idea  among  the 
Greenland  fishermen,   that  the  presence  of  ice  is  necessary  to    ensure  the 


24)  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  finding  of  whales;  but  we  had  no  ice  in  sight  to-day,  when  they  were 
J^J^  most  numerous.  At  noon  we  observed,  in  lat.  74°  01'  57",  being  the  first 
meridian  altitude  we  had  obtained  for  four  days,  and  differing  from  the 
dead  reckoning  only  two  miles,  which  is  remarkable,  considering  the  slug- 
gishness of  the  compasses,  and  would  seem  to  afford  a  presumptive  proof 
that  no  southerly  current  exists  in  this  part  of  Baffin's  Bay.  The  longitude, 
by  chronometers,  was  75°  02'  14.".  In  the  afternoon  the  wind  broke  us 
off  from  the  N.  N.  W.,  which  obliged  us  to  cast  off  the  Griper,  and  we  carried 
all  sail  a-head  to  make  the  land.  We  saw  it  at  half-past  five  P.  M.,  being  the 
high  land  about  Possession  Bay,  and  at  the  same  time  several  streams  of  loose 
but  heavy  ice  came  in  sight,  which  a  fresh  breeze  was  drifting  fast  to  thie 
south-eastward.  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound  was  now  open  to  the  westward 
of  us,  and  the  experience  of  our  former  voyage  had  given  us  reason  to  believe 
that  the  two  best  months  in  the  year  for  the  navigation  of  these  seas  were  yet 
to  come.  This  consideration,  together  with  the  magnificent  view  of  the  lofty 
Byam  Martin  mountains,  which  forcibly  recalled  to  our  minds  the  events  of 
the  preceding  year,  could  not  fail  to  animate  us  with  expectation  and  hope. 
If  any  proof  were  wanting  of  the  value  of  local  knowledge  in  the  navigation  of 
the  Polar  Seas,  it  would  be  amply  furnished  by  the  fact  of  our  having  now 
reached  the  entrance  of  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound  just  one  month  earlier 
than  we  had  done  in  1818,  although  we  had  then  sailed  above  a  fortnight 
sooner,  with  the  same  general  object  in  view,  namely,  to  penetrate  to  the 
western  coast  of  Baffin's  Bay,  where  alone  the  North-west  Passage  was  to  be 
sought  for.  This  difference  is  to  be  attributed  entirely  to  the  confidence  which  I 
felt,  from  the  experience  gained  on  the  former  voyage,  that  an  open  sea  would 
be  found  to  the  westward  of  the  barrier  of  ice  which  occupies  the  middle  of 
Baffin's  Bay.  Without  that  confidence,  it  would  have  been  little  better  than 
madness  to  have  attempted  a  passage  through  so  compact  a  body  of  ice,  when 
no  indication  of  a  clear  sea  appeared  beyond  it. 

The  Hecla's  cables  were  bent,  and  the  Griper's  signal  made  to  do  the  same. 
As  we  approached  the  land,  the  wind  drew  directly  out  of  the  sound,  which  is 
commonly  found  to  be  the  case  in  inlets  of, this  nature,  in  which  the  wind 
generally  blows  directly  up  or  down.  A  flock  of  white  ducks,  believed  to  be 
male  eider-ducks,  were  seen  in  the  afternoon,  flying  to  the  eastward. 
Sat-  31.  -  The  wind  increased  to  a  fresh  breeze  on  the  morning  of  the  31st,  whicli 
pi-evented  our  making  much  way  to  the  westward.  We  stood  in  towards  Cape 
Byam  Martin,  and  sounded  in  eighty  fathoms  on  a  rocky  bottom,  at  the  distance 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  M 

of  two  miles  in  an  east  direction  from  it.  We  soon  after  discovered  the  flag- 
staff which  had  been  erected  on  Possession  Mount  on  the  former  expedition  ; 
an  object  which,  though  insignificant  in  itself,  called  up  every  person  imme- 
diately on  deck  to  look  at  and  to  greet  it  as  an  old  acquaintance.  The  Griper 
being  considerably  astern,  I  thought  it  a  good  opportunity  to  go  on  shore, 
in  order  to  make  some  observations,  while  she  was  coming  up.  Captain 
Sabine  and  myself,  therefore,  left  the  ship,  and  landed  in  the  same  spot, 
near  the  mouth  of  the  stream  in  Possession  Bay,  where  observations  had 
been  made  the  preceding  year.  We  found  so  much  surf  on  the  beach  as  to 
make  it  necessary  to  haul  the  boat  up,  to  prevent  her  being  stove.  A 
number  of  loose  pieces  of  ice  had  been  thrown  up  above  the  ordinary  high- 
water  mark  ;  some  of  these  were  so  covered  by  the  sand  which  the  sea 
had  washed  over  them,  that  we  were  at  a  loss  to  know  what  they  were,  till 
a  quantity  of  it  had  been  removed.  From  the  situation  and  appearance  of 
these  masses,  it  occurred  to  some  of  us  that  similar  masses,  found  under 
ground  in  those  spots  called  Kaltusw,  in  the  islands  near  the  coast  of  Siberia, 
might  thus  have  been  originally  deposited. 

The  land  immediately  at  the  back  of  Possession  Bay  rises  in  a  gentle 
slope  from  the  sea,  presenting  an  open  and  extensive  space  of  low  ground, 
flanked  by  hills  to  the  north  and  south.  In  this  valley,  and  even  on  the  hills, 
to  the  height  of  six  or  seven  hundred  feet  above  the  sea,  there  was  scarcely 
any  snow,  but  the  mountains  at  the  back  were  completely  covered  with  it. 
Tlie  bed  of  the  stream  which  winds  along  the  valley  is  in  many  places  several 
hundred  yards  wide,  and  in  some  parts  from  thirty  to  forty  feet  deep;  but  the 
quantity  of  water  which  it  contained  at  this  season  was  extremely  small 
in  proportion  to  the  width  between  the  banks,  not  exceeding  forty  feet  on 
an  average,  and  from  one  to  three  feet  only  in  depth  near  the  mouth  of  the 
stream.  This  feature  is  common  in  every  part  of  the  Polar  regions  in 
which  we  have  landed  ;  the  beds,  or  ravines,  being  probably  formed  by  the 
annual  dissolution  of  the  snow  during  a  long  series  of  years.  Some  pieces 
of  birch-bark  having  been  picked  up  in  the  bed  of  this  stream,  in  1818,  which 
gave  reason  to  suppose  that  wood  might  be  found  growing  in  the  interior,  I 
directed  Mr.  Fisher  to  walk  up  it,  accompanied  by  a  small  party,  and  to  occupy 
an  hour  or  two,  while  the  Griper  was  coming  up,  and  Captain  Sabine  and 
myself  were  employed  upon  the  beach,  in  examining  the  nature  and  pro- 
ductions of  the  country. 

Mr.  Fisher  reported,  on  his  return,  that  he  had  folio^wed  the  stream  betsyieea 

E 


26  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  three  and  four  miles,  where  it  turned  to  the  south-west,  without  discovering 
v^^-v-'L'  any  indications  of  a  wooded  country ;  but  a  sufficient  explanation  respecting 
the  birch-bark  was,  perhaps,  furnished  by  his  finding,  at  the  distance  of  a 
quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  sea,  a  piece  of  whalebone  two  feet  ten  inches  in 
length,  and  two  inches  in  breadth,  having  a  number  of  circular  holes  very 
neatly  and  regularly  perforated  along  one  of  its  edges,  and  which  had  un- 
doubtedly formed  part  of  an  Esquimaux  sledge.  This  circumstance  affording 
a  proof  of  the  Esquimaux  having  visited  this  part  of  the  coast  at  no  very  distant 
period,  it  was  concluded  that  the  piece  of  bark,  above  alluded  to,  had  been 
brought  hither  by  these  people.  From  the  appearance  of  the  whalebone,  it 
might  have  been  lying  there  for  four  or  five  years.  That  none  of  the  Esqui- 
maux tribe  had  visited  this  part  of  the  coast  since  we  landed  there  in 
1818,  was  evident  from  the  flag-staff  then  erected  still  remaining  untouched. 
Mr.  Fisher  found  every  part  of  the  valley  quite  free  from  snow  as  high 
as  he  ascended  it ;  and  the  following  fact  seems  to  render  it  probable  that  no 
great  quantity  either  of  snow  or  sleet  had  fallen  here  since  our  lasl  visit. 
.  Mr.  Fisher  had  not  proceeded  far,  till,  to  his  great  surprise,  he  encountered 
the  tracks  of  human  feet  upon  the  banks  of  the  stream,  which  appeared  so 
fresh,  that  he  at  first  imagined  them  to  have  been  recently  made  by  some 
natives,  but  which,  on  examination,  were  distinctly  ascertained  to  be  the 
marks  of  our  own  shoes  made  eleven  months  before. 

The  only  animals  we  met  with  were  a  fox,  a  raven,  CCorvus  Corax,)  some 
ring-plovers,  (Charadrius  Hiaticula,)  snow-buntings,  and  a  Avild  bee,  (Apis 
Alpina.J  Several  tracks  of  bears  and  of  a  cloven-footed  animal,  probably 
the  rein-deer,  were  also  observed  upon  the  moist  ground.  Three  black  whales 
were  seen  in  the  bay,  and  the  crown-bones  of  several  others  were  lying 
near  the  beach.  Considerable  tufts  of  moss  and  of  grass  occur  in  this 
valley,  principally  in  those  parts  which  are  calculated  to  retain  the  water 
produced  by  the  melting  of  the  snow.  Indeed,  moisture  alone  seems  ne- 
cessary to  the  growth  of  a  variety  of  plants  which  are  found  in  this  dreary 
climate,  and  of  which  a  detailed  account  will  be  given  in  the  Appendix. 
Mr.  Fisher,  who  had  an  opportunity  of  examining  some  of  the  fixed  rocks, 
considered  them  to  consist  principally  of  basalt.  A  great  quantity  of  lime- 
stone was  found  in  the  valley,  together  with  pieces  of  granite,  quartz,  feldspar, 
trap,  and  sandstone. 

The  latitude  observed  at  the  mouth  of  the  stream  was  73°  31'  16",  and  the 
longitude  by  the  chronometers,  77°  22'  21",  the  latter  differing  only  1'  30"  to 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  Sfif 

the  eastward  of  that  obtained  on  the  same  spot,  by  No.   509  of  Earnshaw,    1819 
the  preceding  year.     The  dip  of  the  needle  was  86°  03'  42",  and  the  variation  J^!^ 
108°  46'  35",  westerly,  agreeing  nearly  with  that  observed  by  Lieutenant 
Hoppner,  in  1818.     At  half-past  ten  A.M.,  when  we  landed,  the  tide  was 
falling  by  the  shore,  and  continued  to  do  so  till  about  half  an  hour  before 
noon ;    the  surf  on  the  beach,   however,  did  not  allow  me  to  determine  the 
time  Avith  very  great  precision.     By  the  mean  of  our  observations  made  now, 
and  in  the  foregoing  year,  the  time  of  high  water  on  full  and   change  days, 
would  appear  to  be  about  a  quarter  past  eleven.     At  two  P.M.,  the  water 
had  risen  two  feet  and  a  half,  and  the  whole  rise   of  tide,  as  nearly  as  we 
could  judge  from  the  marks  on  the   beach,  may  be  from  six  to   eight  feet. 
The  stream  certainly  came  from  the  northward  and  westward  along  the  shore 
of  the  bay,  during  the  time  that  the   tide  was  rising ;    and  Lieut.  Beechey 
observed,  that,  in  running   along  shore,   in  a  south-easterly  direction,  the 
ship  seemed  to  go  much  faster  by  the  land  than  she  sailed  through  the  water. 
It  is  more  than  probable,  therefore,  that  the  flood  comes  from  the   north- 
westward on  this  particular  part  of  the   coast.     Near  the  spot  on  which  we 
made  the  observations,  a  bottle  was  buried  containing  an  account  of  our  visit, 
and  a  pile  of  stones  and  earth  raised  over  it. 

In  approaching  Possession  Bay,  the  colour  of  the  water  was  observed  to 
change  to  a  light  green,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  two  and  a  half  miles  from  the 
shore,  but  there  was  no  other  appearance  of  shoal  water,  and  we  could  find  no 
bottom  with  sixty  and  seventy  fathoms  of  line,  well  within  it ;  we  had  four- 
teen fathoms,  on  a  sandy  bottom,  at  a  cable's  length  from  the  beach. 

Having  finished  our  observations,  we  returned  on  board,  and  made  all  sail 
for  the  Sound  ;  but  the  wind  blowing  still  from  the  westward,  the  progress  of 
the  ships  was  but  slow  in  that  direction.  The  sea  was  perfectly  free  from 
ice,  except  a  single  berg,  and  one  or  two  narrow  though  heavy  streams, 
which  offered,  however,  little  or  no  obstruction  to  the  navigation. 

Annexed  is  an  abstract  of  the  Meteorological  Journal  for  the  month  of 
July. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His 

Majesty's  Ship   Hecla,  at   Sea, 

.- 

during  the  Month  oi  July,  1819. 

Temperature 
in  shade 

of  Mr 

Sea  Water  at  the 
surface. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weal' 

Day 
1 

iMaxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Tempe- 
rature. 

Specific 
Gravity. 

Tempera- 
ture >rhen 
weighed. 

Masi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

o 
39 

+ 
o 
34 

+ 
36.33 

33.2 

1.0260 

O 

53 

inclies. 
29.83 

inches. 
29.78 

inches. 
29.800 

W.S.W. 

Moderate  breezes  and  fine. 

2 

37.5 

35.5 

36.25 

33.3 

1. 0.-60 

53 

29.78 

29.70 

29.753 

S.W. 

Ditto 

3 

4 
5 

35 
33 
33 

30 

30.5 

29 

33.33 
31.58 
30.83 

31.5 

30 

30.8 

1.02C0 
1.0261 
1.0260 

53 
51 
54 

29.61 
29.42 

29.48. 

29.10 
29.35 
29.35 

29.302 
29.387 
29.403  ; 

S.E. 
Calm 
West 

Moderate  and  cloudy.    Sn'   .'  and  rain 

at  times. 
Occasional  light  airs  from  th    northward. 

Fogffy  weather. 
Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

6 

38 

31 

34.42 

33.1 

1.0253 

57 

29.54 

29.42 

29.505 

S.W. 

Liglit  breezes  and  fine. 

7 

46 

34 

39.83 

35.8 

1.0257 

57 

29.59 

29.51 

29.550 

5      A.M.  S.S.E. 
t     P.M.  Calm 

Light  airs  and  fine. 
Fine  weather. 

8 

40 

34 

37.75 

37.2 

1.0260 

57 

29.68 

29.60 

29.029 

N  orth 

Light  airs  and  cloudy. 

9 

34 

30 

32.25 

32.7 

1.0254 

54 

29.74 

29.69 

29.721 

N.N.E. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

10 

32 

28 

30.00 

31.5 

1.0252 

.53.5 

29.80 

29.75 

29.787 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  foggy 

11 

32 

26 

29.50 

30.8 

1.0256 

54 

29.77 

29.73 

29.761 

N.W. 

Ditto. 

12 

33.5 

28 

30.50 

32.1 

1.0252 

54 

29.66 

29.63 

29.037 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  breezes  and  foggy. 

13 

32 

31 

31.67 

33.2 

1.0256 

55 

29.90 

29.72 

29.829  ' 

(    A.M.  N.N.W.    ] 
[  P.M.  Westerly,  j 

Light  breezes  and  foggy. 

1  ^* 

36.5 

28.5 

32.83 

34.2 

1.0256 

55 

29.90 

29.84 

29.878 

S.S.E. 

Ditto 

15 

31 

28 

29.83 

32.5 

1.0250 

5S.5 

29.91 

29.81 

29.875 

N.b.W. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

16 

30 

27 

33.00 

34.2 

1.0255 

59 

29.90 

29.76 

29.852 

S.S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

17 

34 

31 

33.50 

32.8 

1.0217 

5S 

29.84 

29.71 

29.783 

West 

Light  breezes  and  foggy,  ^\  ith  rain. 

18 

33 

30.5 

32.00 

32.1 

1.0247 

56 

29.90 

29.79 

29.827 

5     A.M.  S.W.        \ 
I     P.M.N.N.E.    5 

Light  breezes  and  foggy,  with  snow. 

19 

34 

29 

31.00 

33 

1.0247 

56 

29.93 

29.90 

29.912 

North 

Light  breezes  and  foggy,  with  small  snow. 

20 

30 

27 

28.50 

32.2 

1.0250 

56 

29.84 

29.70 

29.791 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  foggy. 

21 

42 

27 

37.67 

33.8 

1.0243 

58 

29.03 

29.56 

29.5S8 

5  From  north  round  > 
<byeasttoS.E.bE.5 

Light  airs;  occasional  calms. 

22 

45 

34 

39.75 

33 

1.0183 

58 

29.62 

29.58 

29.605 

East 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

23 

36 

29 

31.50 

31.4 

1.0252 

55 

29.70 

29.62 

29.665 

N.W.  b.  W. 

Light  breezes  and  foggy. 

24 

37 

31 

33.75 

31.4 

29.83 

29.60 

29.7.-,9 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  and  foggy. 

25 

40 

32 

35.42 

31.3 

29.89 

29.84 

29.870 

Westerly. 

Light  breezes  and  fine  clear  weather 

20 

35 

28 

32.33 

31.9 

1.0185 

59 

29.85 

29.82 

29.838 

■  s-t 

Light  breezes  and  foggy  weather. 

27 

35 

33 

33.75 

32.0 

29.00 

29.74 

29.842 

S.E.  b.E. 

Moderate  breezes  and  hazy  weather. 

23 
29 
30 

33 
37 

38 

33 
33 
33 

33.00 
34.25 
36.25 

31.7 
33.1 
34.8 

1.0240 
1.0242 
1.0255 

59 
59 
53 

29.71 
,  29.52 
29.54 

29.53 
29.49 
2^.51 

29.615 
29.507 
29.525 

S.E.b.S. 
East 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy,  with  continued 

heavy  lain. 
Fresh  breezes  and  foggy,  with  rain  at 

times. 
Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

31 

43 

35 

37.08 

32.6 

1.0250 

65 

29.51 

29.50 

29.505 

N.W.b.W. 

Ditto. 

46 

26 

33.51 

32.68 

1 
29.93 

29.10 

29.687 

1 

>M™         M™" 


-^-r^ 


j4  itwnunient  was  erecteei 
I**:Niaj-The.  ^liclaiess  of  the 
ofy  the  point  at  ■  wajj^ty^ 


CJSccdicu 

Liddon's 


*y 


Cjroppn^ 


-J     Taile  lull-& 
Winter  Haib°^ 


29 


CHAPTER  II. 

ENTRANCE  INTO  SIR  JAMES  LANCASTER'S  SOUND  OF  BAFFIN— UNINTER- 
RUPTED PASSAGE  TO  THE  WESTWARD — DISCOVERY  AND  EXAMINATION 
OF  PRINCE  REGENTS  INLET — PROGRESS  TO  THE  SOUTHWARD  STOPPED 
BY  ICE — RETURN  TO  THE  NORTHWARD — PASS  BARROW's  STRAIT,  AND 
ENTER    THE    POLAR    SEA. 

We  were  now  about  to  enter  and  to  explore  that  great  sound  or  inlet  which 
has  obtained  a  degree  of  celebrity  beyond  what  it  might  otherwise  have  been 
considered  to  possess,  from  the  very  opposite  opinions  which  have  been  held 
with  regard  to  it.  To  us  it  was  peculiarly  interesting,  as  being  the  point  to 
which  our  instructions  more  particularly  directed  our  attention  ;  and,  I  may 
add,  what  I  believe  we  all  felt,  it  was  that  point  of  the  voyage  which  was  to 
determine  the  success  or  failure  of  the  expedition,  according  as  one  or  other 
of  the  opposite  opinions  alluded  to  should  be  corroborated.  It  will  readily 
be  conceived,  then,  how  great  our  anxiety  was  for  a  change  of  the  westerly 
wind  and  swell,  which,  on  the  1st  of  August,  set  down  Sir  James  Lancaster's 
Sound,  and  prevented  our  making  much  progress.  We  experienced  also 
another  source  of  anxiety.  The  relative  sailing  qualities  of  the  two  ships  were 
found  to  have  altered  so  much,  that  we  were  obliged  to  keep  the  Hecla  under 
easy  sail  the  whole  day,  to  allow  the  Griper  to  keep  up  with  us,  although  the 
latter  had  hitherto  kept  way  with  her  consort,  when  sailing  by  the  wind.  The 
ships  stretched  to  the  northward  across  the  entrance  of  the  sound,  meeting  oc- 
casionally with  some  loose  and  heavy  streams  of  ice,  and  were  at  noon  in  lati- 
tude, by  observation,  73°  55'  18",  and  in  longitude,  by  the  chronometers, 
77°  40'.  Several  whales  were  seen  in  the  course  of  the  day,  and  Mr.  Allison 
remarked,  that  this  was  the  only  part  of  Baffin's  Bay  in  which  he  had  ever  seen 
young  whales  ;  for  it  is  a  matter  of  surprise  to  the  whalers  in  general,  that  they 


I8I9. 
Auffust. 


Sun.   ]. 


30  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    seldom  or  never  meet  with  young  ones  on  this  fishery,  as  they  are  accustomed 

Ji^I!^*  to  do  in  the  seas  of  Spitzbergen. 

The  Griper  continued  to  detain  us  so  much  that  I  determined  on  making 
the  best  of  our  way  to  the  westward,  that  no  more  time  than  was  necessary 
might  be  occupied  in  the  examination  of  the  bottom  of  Sir  James  Lancaster's 
Sound,  provided  it  should  be  found  to  be  an  inlet  surrounded  by  land.  I 
was  the  more  inclined  to  do  this,  from  the  circumstance  of  the  sea  being  so 
clear  of  ice,  as  to  offer  no  impediment  to  the  navigation,  which  rendered  it 
next  to  impossible  that  the  two  ships  should  not  meet  each  other  again ;  and 
it  seemed  to  me  to  be  of  considerable  importance  to  obtain  as  early  informa- 
tion as  possible  whether  a  passage  did  or  did  not  exist  there,  as,  in  the  latter 
event,  we  should  have  to  proceed  still  further  to  the  northward  in  search  of 
one  through  some  of  the  other  sounds  of  Baffin;  besides,  the  farther  north  we 
had  to  go,  the  shorter  would  the  navigable  season  be  to  allow  us  to  explore 
these  sounds.  On  these  considerations  I  ordered  the  Hecla  to  be  hove  to  in 
the  evening,  and  sent  Lieutenant  Liddon  an  instruction,  with  some  signals, 
which  might  facilitate  our  meeting  in  case  of  fog :  and  I  appointed  as  a  place 
of  rendezvous  the  meridian  of  85°  west,  and  as  near  the  middle  of  the  Sound 
as  circumstances  would  permit.  As  soon,  therefore,  as  the  boat  returned  from 
the  Griper,  we  carried  a  press  of  sail,  and,  in  the  course  of  the  evening,  saw 
the  northern  shore  of  the  Sound  looming  through  the  clouds  which  hung 
over  it. 

Mon.  2.  It  fell  calm  on  the  morning  of  the  2d,  and  at  nine  A.M.,  we  sounded  with 
the  deep-sea  clamms,  and  found  one  thousand  and  fifty  fathoms  by  the  line, 
on  a  bottom  of  mud  and  small  stones  ;  but  I  believe  the  depth  of  water  did 
not  exceed  eight  or  nine  hundred  fathoms,  the  ship's  drift  being  considerable 
on  account  of  the  swell.  It  should  be  remarked,  also,  that  where  the  sound- 
ings exceed  five  or  six  hundred  fathoms,  even  in  very  calm  weather,  the 
actual  depth  must,  in  the  usual  way  of  obtaining  it,  be  a  matter  of  some 
uncertainty,  for  the  weight  of  the  line  causes  it  to  run  out  with  a  velocity 
not  perceptibly  diminished,  long  after  the  lead  or  the  clamms  have  struck  the 
ground.  The  clamms  being  now  down,  we  were  about  to  try  the  set  of  the 
current,  by  mooring  a  boat  to  the  line,  when  the  breeze  again  sprung  up  from 
the  westward  and  prevented  it.  At  noon  we  were  in  latitude  by  observation, 
74°  30'  03'.,  and  in  longitude  78°  01'.,  Cape  Osborn  bearing  N.  79°  W. 
distant  forty-one  miles. 

The  weather  being  clear  in  the  evening,  we  had  the  first  distinct  view  of 


i^-'ez//f'    ■yi!y/./'/(,y"r  .    I'.  S6' M .'^ 


^l/UZ    /^'    i7i€    /ii^tiCll'iil    cf-  <y^ty/llJ  ■^ilL'HCi//l£/ll . 


F.  W:£eechry  del. 


i/t^yi&i  ^4i(^/ia;7i&/?^^-f.  /c°/f. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  31 

both  sides  of  the  Sound,  and  the  difference  in  the  character  of  the  two  shores  1819. 
was  very  apparent,  that  on  the  south  consisting  of  high  and  peaked  moun-  ^^^^' 
tains,  completely  snow-clad,  except  on  the  lower  parts,  while  the  northern 
coast,  has  generally  a  smoother  outline,  and  had  comparatively  with  the 
other,  little  snow  upon  it ;  the  difference  in  this  last  respect,  appearing  to 
depend  principally  on  the  difference  in  their  absolute  height.  The  sea  was 
open  before  us,  free  from  ice  or  land  ;  and  the  Hecla  pitched  so  much  from 
the  westerly  swell  in  the  course  of  the  day,  as  to  throw  the  water  once  or 
twice  into  the  stern  windows,  a  circumstance  which,  together  with  other 
appearances,  we  were  willing  to  attribute  to  an  open  sea  in  the  desired 
direction.     More  than  forty  black  whales  were  seen  during  the  day. 

We  had  alternately  fresh  breezes  from  the  westward,  and  calms  on  the  morn-  Tues.  3. 
ing  of  the  3d,  when  we  had  only  gained  eight  or  nine  miles  upon  the  Griper, 
which  we  observed  coming  up  the  Sound  before  an  easterly  wind,  with  all 
her  studding  sails  set,  while  we  had  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  westward.  In 
the  fore-noon  we  were  between  Capes  Warrender  and  Osborn,  and  had  a 
good  view  of  Sir  George  Hope's  Monument,  which  proved  to  be  a  dark- 
looking  and  conspicuous  hill  on  the  main  land,  and  not  an  island,  as  it 
appeared  to  be  when  at  a  distance,  on  our  former  voyage. 

A  solitary  iceberg  being  near  us.  Captain  Sabine,  Lieutenant  Beechey, 
and  Mr.  Hooper,  were  sent  upon  it  to  observe  the  variation  of  the  needle  and 
the  longitude,  and  to  take  angles  for  the  survey,  a  base  being  measured  by 
Massey's  log  between  the  ship  and  the  berg.  We  here  obtained  soundino-s 
in  three  hundred  and  seventy-three  fathoms,  the  bottom  consisting  of  mud 
and  small  stones,  of  which  a  small  quantity  was  brought  up  in  the  clamms.  By 
a  boat  moored  to  this  instrument,  a  tide  or  current  was  found  to  set  north 
65°  E.,  at  the  rate  of  seven-eighths  of  a  mile  per  hour;  the  variation  observed 
upon  the  iceberg  was  106°  58'  05"  westerly.  At  noon,  we  were  in  latitude 
74°  25'  31",  long.  80°  04'  30". 

Being  favoured  at  length  by  the  easterly  breeze  which  was  bringing  up  the 
Griper,  and  for  which  we  had  long  been  looking  with  much  impatience,  a  crowd 
of  sail  was  set  to  carry  us  with  all  rapidity  to  the  westward.  It  is  more  easy 
to  imagine  than  to  describe  the  almost  breathless  anxiety  which  was  now  visible 
in  every  countenance,  while,  as  the  breeze  increased  to  a  fresh  gale,  we  ran 
quickly  up  the  sound.  The  mast-heads  were  crowded  by  the  officers  and  men 
during  the  whole  afternoon  ;  and  an  unconcerned  observer,  if  any  could  have 
been  unconcerned  on  such  an  occasion,  would  have  been  amused  bv  the 


32  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

eagerness  with  which  the  various  reports  from  the  crow's  nest  were  received, 
all,  however,  hitherto  favourable  to  our  most  sanguine  hopes. 

Between  four  and  six  P.  M.,  we  passed  several  riplings  on  the  Avater,  as  if 
occasioned  by  a  weather  tide,  but  no  bottom  could  be  found  with  the  hand- 
leads.  Being  now  abreast  of  Cape  Castlereagh,  more  distant  land  was  seen  to 
open  out  to  the  westward  of  it,  and  between  the  cape  and  this  land  was  per- 
ceived an  inlet,  to  which  I  have  given  the  name  of  the  Navy  Board's  Inlet. 
We  saw  points  of  land  apparently  all  round  this  inlet,  but  being  at  a  very 
great  distance  from  it  we  were  unable  to  determine  whether  it  was  continuous 
or  not.  But  as  the  land  on  the  western  side  appeared  so  much  lower  and 
smoother  than  that  on  the  opposite  side  near  Cape  Castlereagh,  and  came  down, 
so  near  the  horizon,  about  the  centre  of  the  inlet,  the  general  impression  was, 
that  it  is  not  continuous  in  that  part.  As  our  business  lay  to  the  westward, 
however,  and  not  to  the  south,  the  whole  of  this  extensive  inlet  was,  in  a  few 
hours,  lost  in  distance. 

In  the  mean  time  the  land  had  opened  out,  on  the  opposite  shore,  to  the 
northward  and  westward  of  Cape  Warrender,  consisting  of  high  mountains, 
and  in  some  parts  of  table  land.  Several  head-lands  were  here  distinctly 
made  out,  of  which  the  northernmost  and  most  conspicuous,  was  named 
after  Captain  Nicholas  Lechmere  Pateshall,  of  the  Royal  Navy.  The 
extensive  bay  into  which  Cape  Pateshall  extends,  and  which,  at  the 
distance  we  passed  it,  appeared  to  be  broken,  or  detached  in  many  parts, 
was  named  Croker's  Bay  in  honour  of  Mr.  Croker,  Secretary  of  the  Admi- 
ralty ;  I  have  called  this  large  opening  a  bay,  though  the  quickness  with 
which  we  sailed  past  it  did  not  allow  us  to  determine  the  absolute  continuity 
of  land  round  the  bottom  of  it ;  it  is,  therefore,  by  no  means  improbable,  that 
a  passage  may  here  be  one  day  found  from  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound  into 
the  Northern  Sea.  The  Cape,  which  lies  on  the  Avfestern  side  of  Croker's  Bay, 
was  named  after  Sir  Everard  Home. 

Our  course  was  nearly  due  west,  and  the  wind  still  continuing  to  freshen, 
took  us  in  a  few  hours  nearly  out  of  sight  of  the  Griper.  The  only  ice 
which  we  met  with  consisted  of  a  few  large  bergs  very  much  washed  by  the 
sea ;  and,  the  weather  being  remarkably  clear,  so  as  to  enable  us  to  run  with 
perfect  safety,  we  were,  by  midnight,  in  a  great  measure  relieved  from  our 
anxiety  respecting  the  supposed  continuity  of  land  at  the  bottom  of  this 
magnificent  inlet,  having  reached  the  longitude  of  83°  12',  where  the  two 
shores  are  still  above  thirteen  leagues  apart,  without  the  slightest  appear- 


■  ir 


r4      ,T^,^>>',fl 


y    f  1 


§iimilmm-  i^w 


f.j^mj, 


y^c/yu'  //l^ai^te'Tn^?,  /^a^lcn^  ^-^.  (C?  // 


a7iyg?i^^.a/i^  cfide  ./^^^  cr^tf  <?/c:^^^  J/a7^ ^S^ncad^^  oCtiTzJ,  .^  ^  Coj^utit,/  ^  6.  'ii^fi^nJ^'> 


iwiwf"^m  iv  -r'^  „/->-•";  'r,„/Mr~mf 


L,  Z^;^  ^/up>v  of  ^a-i^t<?tiv  ^/rtu/:  ^~  ^'e^iytcn^  ^crm.. 


'»€**»»&%».. 


t^cTitimia^Zc-'n   cf  tAe   a./-ei'i 


W.BeecAty  dt!. 


I.  Clcv"k  sculp. 


Z..'naon.TuMished   3j  I .  ifurraj ,  imi . 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  *  33 

ance  of  any  land  to  the  westward  of  us  for  four  or  five  points  of  the  compass.    ^^^^• 

,  .     August. 

The  colour  of  the  water  having  become  rather  lighter,  we  hove-to  at  this 


time  for  the  Griper,  and  obtained  soundings  in  one  hundred  and  fifty  fathoms 
on  a  muddy  bottom.  The  wind  increased  so  much  as  to  make  it  necessary 
to  close-reef  the  sails,  and  to  get  the  top-gallant  yards  down,  and  there  was 
a  breaking  sea  from  the  eastward.  A  great  number  of  whales  were  seen  in 
the  course  of  this  day's  run. 

Having  made  the  ship  snug,  so  as  to  be  in  readiness  to  round  to,  should  Wed.  4. 
the  land  be  seen  a-head,  and  the  Griper  having  come  up  within  a  few  miles 
of  us,  we  again  bore  up  at  one  A.M.  At  half-past  three,  Lieutenant  Beechey, 
who  had  relieved  me  on  deck,  discovered  from  the  crow's-nest,  a  reef  of 
rocks,  in-shore  of  us  to  the  northward,  on  which  the  sea  was  breaking. 
These  breakers  appeared  to  lie  directly  off  a  cape,  which  we  named  after 
Rear-Admiral  Joseph  Bullen,  and  which  lies  immediately  to  the  eastward 
of  an  inlet,  that  I  named  Brooking  Cuming  Inlet.  As  the  sea  had  now 
become  high,  and  the  water  appeared  discoloured  at  some  distance  without 
the  breakers,  the  Hecla  was  immediately  rounded  to,  for  the  purpose  of 
sounding ;  we  could  find  no  bottom  with  fifty  fathoms  of  line,  but  the  Griper 
coming  up  shortly  after,  obtained  soundings  in  seventy-five  fathoms,  on  a 
bottom  of  sand  and  mud.  We  here  met  with  innumerable  loose  masses  of 
ice,  upon  which  the  sea  was  constantly  breaking,  in  a  manner  so  much 
resembling  the  breakers  on  shoals,  as  to  make  it  a  matter  of  some  little 
uncertainty  at  the  time,  whether  those  of  which  I  have  spoken  above,  might 
not  also  have  been  caused  by  ice.  It  is  possible,  therefore,  that  shoal  water 
may  not  be  found  to  exist  in  this  place ;  but  I  thought  it  right  to  mark  the 
spot  on  the  chart  to  warn  future  navigators  when  approaching  this  part  of  the 
coast.  That  there  is  something  out  of  the  common  way  in  this  neighbour- 
hood, appears,  however,  more  than  probable,  from  the  soundings  obtained 
by  the  Griper,  which  are  much  less  than  we  found  them  in  any  other  part  of 
the  Sound  at  the  same  distance  from  land. 

At  seven  A.M.,  there  being  less  sea,  and  no  appearance  of  broken  or  dis- 
coloured water,  we  again  bore  away  to  the  westward,  the  Griper  having 
joined  us  about  the  meridian  of  85°,  which  had  been  appointed  as  our  place 
of  rendezvous.  Since  the  preceding  evening,  a  thick  haze  had  been  hanging 
over  the  horizon  to  the  southward,  which  prevented  our  seeing  the  land  in 
that  direction,  to  the  westward  of  87°,  while  the  whole  of  the  northern  shore, 
though,  as  it  afterwards  proved,  at  a  greater  distance  from  us,  was  distinctly 

F 


34  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    visible.     At  noon,  being  in  latitude  74°  15'  53"  N.,  longitude,  by  chrono- 
\.-"v-H^  meters,  86°  30'  30",  we  were  near  two  inlets,  of  which  the  easternmost  was 
named  Burnet  Inlet,  and  the  other  Stratton  Inlet.     The  land  between 
these  two  had  very  much  the  appearance  of  an  island.     We  rounded  to,  for 
the  purpose  of  sounding,  as  well  as  to  wait  for  our  consort,  and  found  no 
bottom  with  one  hundred  and  seventy  fathoms  of  line,  the  water  being  of  a 
dirty  light-green  colour.     The  cliffs  on  this  part  of  the  coast  present  a  sin- 
Wed.  4.  gular   appearance,   being   stratified  horizontally,  and   having  a   number  of 
regular  projecting  masses  of  rock,  broad  at  the   bottom,  and  coming  to  a 
point  at  the  top,  resembling  so  many  buttresses,  raised  by  art  at  equal  in- 
tervals.    This  very  remarkable  constructure,  which  continues  with  little  varia- 
tion along  the  whole  of  this  northern  shore,  will  be  best  understood  by  the 
accompanying  views  by  Lieutenant  Beechey,  which,  from  the  accuracy  with 
'     which  the    coast  is   delineated,   will,   I  doubt  not,  be   considered   equally 
valuable  by  the  geologist  and  the  seaman. 

After  lying-to  for  an  hour,  we  again  bore  up  to  the  westward,  and  soon 
after  discovered  a  caf>e,  afterwards  named  by  Captain  Sabine,  Cape  Felleoot, 
which  appeared  to  form  the  termination  of  this  coast;  and  as  the  haze, 
which  still  prevailed  to  the  south,  prevented  our  seeing  any  land  in  that 
quarter,  and  the  sea  was  literally  as  free  from  ice  as  any  part  of  the  Atlantic, 
we  began  to  flatter  ourselves  that  we  had  fairly  entered  the  Polar  sea,  and 
some  of  the  most  sanguine  among  us  had  even  calculated  the  bearing  and 
distance  of  Icy  Cape,  as  a  matter  of  no  very  difficult  or  improbable  accom- 
plishment. This  pleasing  prospect  was  rendered  the  more  flattering  by  the 
sea  having,  as  we  thought,  regained  the  usual  oceanic  colour,  and  by  a  long 
swell  which  was  rolling  in  from  the  southward  and  eastward.  At  six  P.M., 
however,  land  was  reported  to  be  seen  a-head.  The  vexation  and  anxiety 
produced  on  every  countenance  by  such  a  report,  was  but  too  visible,  until, 
on  a  nearer  approach,  it  was  found  to  be  only  an  island,  of  no  very  large 
extent,  and  that,  on  each  side  of  it,  the  horizon  still  appeared  clear  for 
several  points  of  the  compass.  More  land  was  also  discovered  beyond  Cape 
Fellfoot,  immediately  to  the  westward  of  which  lies  a  deep  and  broad  bay, 
which  I  named  after  my  friend,  Mr.  Maxwell,  to  whose  kindness  and  unre- 
mitting attention,  I  am  more  indebted  than  it  might  be  proper  here  to  express. 
At  eight  P.M.,  we  came  to  some  ice  of  no  great  breadth  or  thickness,  ex- 
tending several  miles  in  a  direction  nearly  parallel  to  our  course ;  and  as 
we  could  see  clear  water  over  it  to  the  southward,  I  was  for  some  time  in  the 


\; 


^ 


,v 


Gn^iii^a/Uvt  c^^Ae  C'tuf^i^ {^aA^.m/6  c^^O-  ^^ Me  G.h>^crz'i</  6^/ Cu/^e  r^^.^^-/" 


Xondon.  TaiUshed  fy  Z.MuTi^ciy,  I<P2I . 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  35 

hope,  that  it  would  prove  a  detached  stream,   from  which  no  obstruction  to    1819. 
our  progress  westerly  was  to    be   apprehended.     At  twenty   minutes  past 


ten,  however,  the  weather  having  become  hazy,  and  the  wind  light,  we 
perceived  that  the  ice,  along  which  we  had  been  sailing  for  the  last  two 
hours,  Avas  joined,  at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile  to  the  westward  of 
us,  to  a  compact  and  impenetrable  body  of  floes,  which  lay  across  the 
whole  breadth  of  the  strait,  formed  by  the  island,  and  the  western  point 
of  Maxwell  Bay.  We  hauled  our  wind,  to  the  northward,  just  in  time  to 
avoid  being  embayed  in  the  ice,  on  the  outer  edge  of  which  a  considerable 
surf,  the  effect  of  the  late  gale,  was  then  rolling.  A  second  island  was  dis- 
covered to  the  southward  of  the  former,  to  both  of  which  I  gave  the  name 
of  Prince  Leopold's  Isles,  in  honour  of  his  Royal  Highness  Prince  Leopold 
OF  Saxe  Coburg.  Immediately  to  the  eastward  of  these  islands,  there  was 
a  strong  water  sky,  indicating  a  considerable  extent  of  open  sea,  but  a 
bright  ice  blink  to  the  westward  afforded  little  hope,  for  the  present,  of 
finding  a  passage  in  the  desired  direction.  We  saw  to-day,  for  the  first 
time,  a  number  of  white  whales  ;  fDelphinus  Albicans  ;J  guillemots,  fulmar 
petrels,  and  kittiwakes,  were  also  numerous  near  the  ice. 

The  easterly  wind  died  aAvay  on  the  morning  of  the  5th,  and  was  sue-  Thurs.  5. 
ceeded  by  light  and  variable  airs,  with  thick,  snoAvy  weather.  At  noon  we 
were  in  lat.  74°  19'  38",  long.  89°  18'  40",  the  soundings  being  one  hundred 
and  thirty-five  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom.  At  half-past  ten  we  tried 
whether  there  were  any  current,  and  if  so,  in  what  direction  it  might  be 
setting,  by  mooring  a  boat  to  the  bottom,  with  the  deep-sea  clamms ;  but 
none  could  be  detected.  An  hour  before,  the  same  experiment  had  been 
tried  on  board  the  Griper,  when  Lieutenant  Liddon  found  the  current  to 
be  setting  east,  at  the  rate  of  nine  miles  per  day.  While  the  calm  and  thick 
weather  lasted,  a  number  of  the  officers  and  men  amused  themselves  in 
the  boats,  in  endeavouring  to  kill  some  of  the  white  whales  which  were 
swimming  about  the  ships  in  great  numbers ;  but  the  animals  were  so 
wary,  that  they  would  scarcely  suffer  the  boats  to  approach  them  within 
thirty  or  forty  yards  without  diving.  Mr.  Fisher  described  them  to  be 
generally  from  eighteen  to  twenty  feet  in  length ;  and  he  stated,  that  he 
had  several  times  heard  them  emit  a  shrill,  ringing  sound,  not  unlike  that  of 
musical  glasses  when  badly  played.  This  sound,  he  further  observed,  was 
most  distinctly  heard,  when  they  happened  to  swim  directly  beneath  the 
boat,  even  when  they  were  several  feet  under  wafer,  and  ceased  altoo-ether 


36  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  on  their  coming  to  the  surface.  We  saw  also,  for  the  farst  time,  one  or  two 
Ji^'  .shoals  of  narwhals,  (Monodon  MortocerosJ  called  by  the  sailors,  sea-unicorns. 
A  steady  breeze  springing  up  from  the  W.N.W.  in  the  afternoon,  the  ships 
stood  to  the  northward,  till  we  had  distinctly  made  out,  that  no  passage  to 
the  westward  could  at  present  be  found  between  the  ice  and  the  land. 
The  weather  having  become  clear  about  this  time,  we  perceived  that  there 
was  a  large  open  space  to  the  southward,  where  no  land  was  visible; 
and  for  this  opening,  over  which  there  was  a  dark  water-sky,  our  course  was 
now  directed.  It  fell  calm  again,  however,  in  a  few  hours,  so  that  at  noon, 
Frid.  6.  on  the  6th,  we  were  still  abreast  of  Prince  Leopold's  Islands,  which  were  so 
surrounded  by  ice,  that  we  could  not  approach  them  nearer  than  four  or  five 
miles.  .  The  appearance  of  these  islands  is  not  less  remarkable  than  that  of 
the  northern  shore  of  the  strait,  being  also  stratified  horizontally,  but  having 
none  of  those  buttress-like  projections  before  described.  The  different  strata 
form  so  many  shelves,  as  it  were,  on  which  the  snow  lodges  ;  so  that,  imme- 
diately after  a  fall  of  snow,  the  islands  appear  to  be  striped  with  white  and 
brown  alternately.  The  northernmost  island,  when  seen  from  the  E.N.E., 
appears  like  a  level  piece  of  table-land,  being  quite  perpendicular  at  each 
extreme. 

The  Griper  having  unfortunately  sprung  both  her  topmasts,  Lieut.  Liddon 
took  advantage  of  the  calm  weather  to  shift  them.  The  Hecla's  boats  were 
at  the  same  time  employed  in  bringing  on  board  ice,  to  be  used  as  water ; 
a  measure  to  which  it  is  occasionally  necessary  to  resort  in  these  regions, 
when  no  pools  or  ponds  are  to  be  found  upon  the  floes.  In  this  case,  berg- 
ice,  when  at  hand,  is  generally  preferred  ;  but  that  of  floes,  which  is  in  fact 
the  ice  of  sea-water,  is  also  abundantly  used  for  this  purpose  :  the  only  pre- 
caution which  it  is  necessary  to  observe,  being  that  of  allowing  the  salt  water 
to  drain  off  before  it  is  dissolved  for  use.  One  of  our  boats  was  upset  by^ 
the  fall  of  a  mass  of  ice  which  the  men  were  breaking,  but  fortunately  no 
injury  was  sustained. 

A  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  N.N.W.  in  the  evening,  and  the  Griper  being 
ready  to  make  sail,  we  stood  to  the  southward.  The  land,  which  now 
became  visible  to  the  south-east,  discovered  to  us,  that  we  were  entering 
a  large  inlet,  not  less  than  ten  leagues  wide  at  its  mouth,  and  in  the  centre 
of  which  no  land  could  be  distinguished.  The  western  shore  of  the  inlet, 
which  extended  as  far  as  we  could  see  to  the  S.S.W.,  was  so  encumbered 
with  ice,  that  there  was  no  possibility  of  sailing  near  it.    I,  therefore,  ran 


,y/^_i  ,-y,'^//Ai-'/n/,?a^'^if  yf^/^r^  V^tvv^r/'r^  ,_y^/<7m/.j. 


■y/ie^  \iy(/uff/M(-j''  (jc  ^/i'//<-^  '^^yy/r'^t/j  -Jj^^^iy.' ,    '",4v/?/-'^y ..  '-  '}2'  /I .  ' 


^/ra'  r//  '  '/'v'^  ^y^'r^/r//^''/ C^^fi<^' -^^-mt'//^ ',^yi/-et / /'taU^      cfcY^///  . 


London, TtLblCshed  fy  I.M'u.r-ra^,  1S21. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  37 

alonff  the  edge  of  the  ice,  between  which  and  the  eastern  shore,  there  was    1819. 

•  Auffust 

a  broad  and  open  channel,  with  the  intention  of  seeking,  in  a  lower  latitude,  ^^.^r^' 
a  clearer  passage  to  the  westward  than  that  which  we  had  just  been  obliged 
to  abandon  lying  between  Prince  Leopold's  Isles,  and  Maxwell's  Bay.  The 
headland,  which  forms  the  western  point  of  the  entrance  into  this  inlet,  was 
honoured  by  the  name  of  Cape  Clarence,  after  His  Royal  Highness  the 
Duke  of  Clarence  ;  and  another,  to  the  south-eastward  of  this,  was  named 
after  Sir  Robert  Seppings,  one  of  the  Surveyors  of  His  Majesty's  navy. 

Since  the  time  we  first  entered  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  the  sluggish- 
ness of  the  compasses,  as  well  as  the  amount  of  their  irregularity  produced 
by  the  attraction  of  the  ship's  iron,  had  been  found  very  rapidly,  though 
uniformly,  to  increase,  as  we  proceeded  to  the  westward ;  so  much,  indeed, 
that,  for  the  last  two  days,  we  had  been  under  the  necessity  of  giving  up 
altogether  the  usual  observations  for  determining  the  variation  of  the  needle 
on  board  the  ships.  This  irregularity  became  more  and  more  obvious  as  we 
now  advanced  to  the  southward.  The  rough  magnetic  bearing  of  the  sun 
at  noon,  or  at  midnight,  or  when  on  the  prime  vertical,  as  compared 
with  its  true  azimuth,  was  sufficient  to  render  this  increasing  inefficiency 
of  the  compass  quite  apparent.  For  example,  at  noon  this  day,  while  we 
were  observing  the  meridian  altitude,  the  bearing  of  the  sun  was  two  points 
on  the  Hecla's  larboard  bow,  and  consequently  her  true  course  was  about 
S.S.W.  The  binnacle  and  azimuth  compasses  at  the  same  time  agreed  in 
shewing  N.N. W.  I W.,  making  the  variation  to  be  allowed  on  that  course, 
eleven  points  and-a-half  westerly,  corresponding  nearly  with  an  azimuth  taken 
on  the  following  morning,  which  gave  137°  12'.  It  was  evident,  therefore, 
that  a  very  material  change  had  taken  place  in  the  dip,  or  the  variation,  or 
in  both  these  phenomena,  since  we  had  last  an  opportunity  of  obtaining 
observations  upon  them ;  which  rendered  it  not  improbable  that  we  were 
now  making  a  very  near  approach  to  the  magnetic  pole.  This  supposition 
was  further  strengthened  on  the  morning  of  the  7th ;  when,  having  de-  Sat.  7. 
creased  our  latitude  to  about  73°,  we  found  that  no  alteration  whatever  in  the 
absolute  course  on  which  the  Hecla  was  steering,  produced  a  change  of 
more  than  three  or  four  points  in  the  direction  indicated  by  the  compass, 
which  continued  uniformly  from  N.N.E.  to  N.N.W.,  according  as  the  ship's 
head  was  placed  on  one  side  or  the  other  of  the  magnetic  meridian.  We 
now,  therefore,  witnessed,  for  the  first  time,  the  curious  phenomenon  of  the 
directive  power  of  the  needle  becoming  so  weak  as  to  be  completely   over- 


38  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERV 

1819.  eome  by  the  attraction  of  the  ship;  so  that  the  needle  might  now  be  properly 
Ji^!i^"  said  to  point  to  the  north  pole  of  the  ship.  It  was  only,  however,  in  those 
compasses  in  which  the  lightness  of  the  cards,  and  great  delicacy  in  the 
suspension,  had  been  particularly  attended  to,  that  even  this  degree  of 
uniformity  prevailed ;  for,  in  the  heavier  cards,  the  friction  upon  the  points 
of  suspension  was  much  too  great  to  be  overcome  even  by  the  ship's  at- 
traction, and  they  consequently  remained  indifferently  in  any  position  in 
which  they  happened  to  be  placed.  For  the  purposes  of  navigation,  therefore, 
the  compasses  were  from  this  time  no  longer  consulted ;  and  in  a  few  days 
afterwards,  the  binnacles  were  removed  as  useless  lumber,  from  the  deck  to 
the  carpenter  s  store-room,  where  they  remained  during  the  rest  of  the  season, 
the  azimuth  compass  alone  being  kept  on  deck,  for  the  purpose  of  watching 
any  changes  which  might  take  place  in  the  directive  power  of  the  needle:  and 
the  true  courses  and  direction  of  the  wind  were  in  future  noted  in  the  log- 
book, as  obtained  to  the  nearest  quarter  point,  when  the  sun  was  visible,  by 
the  azimuth  of  that  object  and  the  apparent  time. 

Being  desirous  of  obtaining  all  the  magnetic  observations  we  were  able,  on  a 
spot  which  appeared  to  be  replete  with  interest  in  this  department  of  science, 
and  the  outer  margin  of  the  ice  consisting  entirely  of  small  loose  pieces, 
which  were  not  sufficiently  steady  for  using  the  dipping-needle,  we  hauled  up 
for  the  nearest  part  of  the  eastern  shore,  for  the  purpose  of  landing  there  with 
the  instruments.  We  got  in  with  it  about  noon,  having  very  regularly  decreased 
our  soundings  from  forty  to  fifteen  and  a  half  fathoms  ;  in  which  depth,  having 
tacked,  at  the  distance  of  two  miles  and  a  half  from  the  shore,  two  boats  were 
despatched  from  each  ship,  under  the  command  of  Lieutenants  Beechey  and 
Hoppner,  who,  together  with  Captain  Sabine,  were  directed  to  make  the  ne- 
cessary observations,  and  to  collect  whatever  specimens  of  natural  history  the 
place  might  afford.  They  landed  on  a  beach  of  sand  and  stones,  having 
passed,  at  the  distance  of  one  mile  from  it,  several  large  masses  of  ice  aground  in 
six  to  eight  fathoms'  water,  which  shoaled  from  thence  gradually  in  to  the  shore. 
The  officers  describe  this  spot  as  more  barren  and  dreary  than  any  on  which  they 
had  yet  landed  in  the  arctic  regions  ;  there  being  scarcely  any  appearance  of 
vegetation,  except  here  and  there  a  small  tuft  of  stunted  grass,  and  one  or  two 
species  of  saxifrage  and  poppy,  although  the  ground  was  so  swampy  in  many 
places  that  they  could  scarcely  walk  about.  This  part  of  the  coast  is  rather 
low,  the  highest  hill  near  the  landing-place  being  found,  by  geometrical  mea- 
surement, to  be  only  three  hundred  and  eighty-eight  feet  above  the  level  of  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  39 

sea ;  and  there  was  at  this  time  very  little  snow  remaining  upon  it.  The  fixed  1819. 
rocks  near  the  surface  consist  chiefly  of  lime-stone ;  but  quartz,  granite  and  v^v^' 
hornblende  occurred  in  detached  lumps,  most  of  which  were  incrusted  with 
a  thin  coat  of  lime.  The  bed  of  a  small  stream,  which  ran  between  two  rocks 
of  lime-stone,  was  composed  entirely  of  clay-slate.  The  temperature  of  this 
stream  of  water  was  42|°,  that  of  the  air,  in  the  shade,  being  51 1°,  and  of 
the  earth,  two  or  three  inches  below  the  surface,  34|°.  At  a  short  distance  from 
the  sea,  Lieutenant  Hoppner  discovered  a  large  mass  of  iron-stone,  which  was 
found  to  attract  the  magnet  very  powerfully.  There  were  no  traces  of  inha- 
bitants to  be  seen  on  this  part  of  the  coast.  Part  of  the  vertebrae  of  a  whale 
was  found  at  some  distance  from  the  beach  ;  but  this  had  probably  been  carried 
there  by  bears,  the  tracks  of  Avliom  were  visible  on  the  moist  soil.  The  only 
birds  seen  were  a  few  ptarmigans  fTetrao  LagopusJ  and  snow  buntings. 

The  latitude  of  the  place  of  observation  was  72°  45'  15",  and  its  longitude,  by 
the  chronometers,  SO^^l^S".  The  dipof  the  needle  was  88°  26' 42",  and  the  vari- 
ation 118°  23'  37"  westerly.  The  directive  powerof  the  horizontal  needle,  undis- 
turbed as  it  was  by  the  attraction  ofthe  ship,  was,  even  here,  found  to  be  so  weak, 
in  Captain  Kater's  azimuth-compasses,  which  were  the  most  sensible,  that  they 
required  constant  tapping  with  the  hand  to  make  them  traverse  at  all.  At  half- 
past  one,  when  the  boats  landed,  Lieut.  Beechey  found  the  tide  ebbing,  and 
it  appeared,  by  the  marks  on  the  beach,  to  have  fallen  about  eighteen  inches. 
At  fifty  minutes  past  four,  when  they  left  the  shore,  it  had  fallen  six  feet  and 
a  half  more,  by  which  we  considered  the  time  of  high  water  on  that  day  to  be 
about  half-past  twelve,  and  about  twenty  minutes  past  eleven  on  the  full  and 
change  days  of  the  moon.  The  whole  rise  of  tide,  being  nearly  the  highest 
ofthe  springs,  appears  to  have  been  ten  feet,  and  the  ebb  was  found  to  set 
strong  to  the  southward  in-shore.  A  boat  being  moored  to  the  bottom,  at 
three  miles'  distance  from  the  land,  at  five  P.]\^.  not  the  smallest  current  was 
perceptible.  From  these  and  several  subsequent  observations,  there  is  good 
reason  to  suppose  that  the  flood-tide  comes  from  the  south  in  this  inlet.  Be- 
fore the  boats  left  the  shore,  a  staff  was  erected  on  a  hill  near  the  landing- 
place,  having  a  board  nailed  to  it,  on  which  the  names  of  the  ships  and  the 
date  were  painted  ;  and  at  three  yards,  in  the  direction  of  the  magnetic  north 
from  the  staffs,  which  may  be  distinguished  with  a  glass  at  three  miles'  distance 
from  the  land,  a  bottle  was  buried,  with  a  paper,  containing  an  account  of  the 
time,  and  the  object  of  our  visit  to  this  spot. 

As  soon  as  the  boats  returned  on  board,  we  bore  up  to  the  southward,  run- 


40  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  ning  close  along  the  edge  of  the  ice,  which  led  us  nearer  and  nearer  to  the 
v>v%^  eastern  shore,  so  that  by  midnight  the  channel  in  which  we  were  sailing  was 
narrowed  to  about  five  miles.  The  colour  of  the  water  had  changed  to  a  very- 
light  green  at  that  distance  from  the  shore  ;  but  we  could  find  no  bottom  with 
fifty  fathoms  of  line,  and  had  thirty-five  fathoms  while  rounding  a  point 
of  ice  at  three  miles'  distance  from  the  beach.  The  weather  was  beautifully 
serene  and  clear,  and  the  sun,  for  the  second  time  to  us  this  season,  just 
dipped  below  the  northern  horizon,  and  then  re-appeared  in  a  few  minutes. 
Sun.  8.  A  dark  sky  to  the  south-west  had  given  us  hopes  of  finding  a  westerly 
passage  to  the  south  of  the  ice  along  which  we  were  now  sailing ;  more  espe- 
cially as  the  inlet  began  to  widen  considerably  as  Ave  advanced  in  that  di- 
rection :  but  at  three  A.M.,  on  the  morning  of  the  8th,  we  perceived  that  the 
ice  ran  close  in  with  a  point  of  land  bearing  S.  b.  E.  from  us,  and  which  ap- 
peared to  form  the  southern  extremity  of  the  eastern  shore.  To  this  extreme 
point  I  gave  the  name  of  Cape  Kater,  in  compliment  to  Captain  Henry  Kater, 
one  of  the  Commissioners  of  the  Board  of  Longitude,  to  whom  science  is  greatly 
indebted  for  his  improvements  of  the  pendulum,  and  the  mariner's  compass. 

With  the  increasing  width  of  the  inlet,  we  had  flattered  ourselves  with  in- 
creasing hopes  ;  but  we  soon  experienced  the  mortification  of  disappointment. 
The  prospect  from  the  crow's  nest  began  to  assume  a  very  unpromising  ap- 
pearance, the  whole  of  the  western  horizon,  from  north  round  to  S.  b.  E., 
being  completely  covered  with  ice,  consisting  of  heavy  and  extensive  floes, 
beyond  which  no  indication  of  water  was  visible  ;  instead  of  which  there  was 
a  bright  and  dazzling  ice-blink  extending  from  shore  to  shore.  The  western 
coast  of  the  inlet,  however,  trended  much  more  to  the  westward  than  before, 
and  no  land  Avas  visible  to  the  south-west,  though  the  horizon  was  so  clear  in 
that  quarter,  that,  if  any  had  existed  of  moderate  height,  it  might  have  been 
easily  seen  at  this  time,  at  the  distance  of  ten  or  twelve  leagues.  From  these 
circumstances,  the  impression  received  at  the  time  was,  that  the  land,  both  on 
the  eastern  and  western  side  of  this  inlet,  would  be  one  day  found  to  consist 
of  islands.  As  a  fresh  northerly  breeze  was  drifting  the  ice  rapidly  towards 
Cape  Kater,  and  there  appeared  to  be  no  passage  open  between  it  and  that 
cape,  I  did  not  consider  it  prudent,  under  present  circumstances,  to  run  the 
ships  down  to  the  point,  or  to  attempt  to  force  a  passage  through  the  ice,  and 
therefore  hauled  to  the  wind  with  the  intention  of  examining  a  bay  which  was 
abreast  of  us,  and  to  Avhich  I  gave  the  name  of  Fitzgerald  Bay,  out  of  respect 
for  Captain  Robert  Lewis  Fitzgerald,  of  the  royal  navy. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  41 

A  boat  from  each  ship  was  prepared  to  conduct  this  examination,  and  we  1819. 
stood  in  to  drop  them  in-shore,  but  found,  as  we  approached,  that  the  bay  was  ;^)!^' 
so  filled  with  ice,  as  to  render  it  impracticable  for  any  boat  to  land.  I  there- 
fore determined,  as  the  season  was  fast  advancing  to  a  close,  to  lose  no  time 
in  returning  to  the  northward,  in  the  hope  of  finding  the  channel  between 
Prince  Leopold's  Isles  and  Maxwell  Bay  more  clear  of  ice  than  when  we  left 
it,  in  which  case  there  could  be  little  doubt  of  our  effecting  a  passage  to  the 
westward;  whereas,  in  our  present  situation,  there  appeared  no  prospect  of 
our  doing  so  without  risking  the  loss  of  more  time  than  I  deemed  it  prudent 
to  spare. 

I  have  before  observed  that  the  east  and  west  lands  which  form  this  grand 
inlet  are  probably  islands:  and,  on  an  inspection  of  the  charts,  I  think  it  will 
also  appear  highly  probable  that  a  communication  will  one  day  be  found  to 
exist  between  this  inlet  and  Hudson's  Bay,  either  through  the  broad  and  unex- 
plored channel,  called  Sir  Thomas  Rowe's  Welcome,  or  through  Repulse  Bay, 
which  has  not  yet  been  satisfactorily  examined.  It  is  also  probable,  that  a 
channel  will  be  found  to  exist  between  the  western  land  and  the  northern  coast 
of  America;  in  which  case  the  flood-tide  which  came  from  the  southward  may 
have  proceeded  round  the  southern  point  of  the  west  land  out  of  the  Polar  sea, 
part  of  it  setting  up  the  inlet,  and  part  down  the  Welcome,  according  to  the 
unanimous  testimony  of  all  the  old  navigators,  who  have  advanced  up  the 
latter  channel  considerably  to  the  northward. 

The  distance  which  we  sailed  to  the  southward  in  this  inlet  was  about 
one  hundred  and  twenty  miles,  Cape  Kater  being,  by  our  observations,  in 
lat.  71°  53'  30",  long.  90°  03'  45";  and  I  saw  no  reason  to  doubt  the  practi- 
cability of  ships  penetrating  much  farther  to  the  south,  by  watching  the 
occasional  openings  in  the  ice,  if  the  determining  the  geography  of  this  part 
of  the  arctic  regions  be  considered  worth  the  time  which  must  necessarily  be 
occupied  in  effecting  it.  The  ice  which  we  met  with  in  the  southern  part 
of  this  inlet  was  much  less  broken  into  pieces  than  that  to  the  northward ; 
and  the  floes,  some  of  which  not  less  than  nine  or  ten  feet  thick, 
were  covered  with  innumerable  little  round  "  hummocks,"  as  they  are 
called  by  the  Greenland  seamen,  Avhich  are  perhaps  first  formed  by  the 
drift  of  the  snow  in  particular  situations,  and  which  by  alternate  thawing  and 
freezing,  become  as  solid  and  transparent  as  any  other  part  of  the  ice. 
This  peculiarity  I  never  remember  to  have  remarked  on  the  floes  in  Baffin's 
Bay,  on  which  a  carriage  might  travel  without  much  inconvenience,  except 


4S  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

H19-    that  which  arises  from  the  numerous  pools  of  water  found  upon  them  in 
s.0-r^'  the  latter  part  of  the  summer. 

From  latitude  73°  to  the  farthest  progress  made  to  the  southward,  we 
found  the  soundings  remarkably  regular  in  approaching  the  eastern  shore. 
The  colour  of  the  water  was  always  observed  to  change  to  a  beautiful  light 
green  before  we  could  obtain  soundings  with  a  line  of  forty  fathoms,  which 
occur  generally  at  the  distance  of  four  or  five  miles  from  the  land;  after  which 
the  depth  decreases  so  gradually  that  the  lead  appears  to  be  a  safe  guide. 
The  bottom  is  principally  mud,  into  which  the  lead  sinks  deep;  but  there  is 
also  some  hard  ground,  and  a  few  pieces  of  limestone  were  occasionally 
brought  up  by  the  lead. 

The  directive  power  of  the  magnet  seemed  to  be  weaker  here  than 
ever;  for  the  north  pole  of  the  needle  in  Captain  Kater's  steering  compass, 
in  which  the  friction  is  almost  entirely  removed  by  a  thread  suspension, 
was  observed  to  point  steadily  towards  the  ship's-  head,  in  whatsoever 
direction  the  latter  was  placed.  It  is  probable,  therefore,  that  the  magnetic 
dip  would  have  been  found  somewhat  greater  here  than  at  our  place  of 
observation  on  the  7th ;  and  it  was  a  matter  of  regret  to  me  that  the  primary 
object  of  the  expedition  would  not  allow  of  another  day's  detention  for  the 
purpose  of  repeating  the  magnetic  observations  on  this  spot. 

Mon.  9.  As  we  returned  to  the  northward  with  a  light,  but  favourable  breeze,  we 
found  that  the  ice  had  approached  the  eastern  shore  of  the  inlet,  leaving  a 
much  narrower  channel  than  that  by  which  we  had  entered ;  and  in  some 
places  it  stretched  completely  across  to  the  land  on  this  side,  while  the 
opposite  coast  was  still  as  inaccessible  as  before. 

On  the  evening  of  the  9th,  a  circular  prismatic  halo  Avas  seen  round  the 
sun,  with  a  bright  parhelion  on  each  side  at  the  same  altitude  with  the  sun. 
The  radius  of  the  circle  was  23°  06'.  Several  black  whales,  and  multitudes 
of  white  ones,  were  seen  in  the  course  of  the  day,  also  several  narwhals 
and  seals,  and  one  bear.     There  was  an  iceberg  in  sight. 

Tues.  10.  On  the  10th,  the  weather  was  very  thick  with  snow,  which  was  afterwards 
succeeded  by  rain  and  fog.  The  compasses  being  useless,  and  the  sun 
obscured,  we  had  no  means  of  knowing  the  direction  in  which  we  were 
going,  except  that  we  knew  the  wind  had  been  to  the  southward  before  the 
fog  came  on,  and  had  found  by  experience  that  it  always  blew  directly  up 
or  down  the  inlet,  which  enabled  us  to  form  a  tolerably  correct  judgment 
of  our  course.    We   continued  to  stand  off-and-on    near  the    ice,  till  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  43 

evening,   when,  the  fog  having  cleared  away,  we  bore  up  to  the  northward,     '^^^■ 
keeping  as  near  the  western  shore  as  the  ice  would  permit ;    but  at  eleven  '.^^■^ 
P.M.,  we  were  stopped  in  our  progress  by  the  ice  extending  to  the  land 
on  the  eastern  side  of  the  inlet,  which  obliged  us   to  haul  our  wind.     This 
part  of  the  coast  is  much  higher  than  that  farther  to  the  southward,  and  the 
soundings  near  it  are  also  considerably  deeper. 

On  the  11th,  the  weather  was  so  thick  with  fog  and  rain,  that  it  was  Wed.  11. 
impossible  to  ascertain  in  what  direction  we  were  going,  which  obliged  me 
to  make  the  ships  fast  to  a  floe  till  the  weather  should  clear  up.  There 
being  abundance  of  the  purest  water  in  pools  upon  the  floe,  our  supply  of 
this  necessary  article  was  completed  on  board  each  ship,  and  in  the  mean 
time.  Captain  Sabine  took  the  opportunity  of  repeating  his  observations 
upon  the  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle,  the  result  of  which,  being  88°  25'  17 ", 
served  to  confirm  those  made  on  shore  on  the  7th.  The  repetition  of  such 
observations,  which  require  considerable  care  and  delicacy,  is  always  satis- 
factory ;  but  was  particularly  so  on  this  occasion  from  the  circumstance 
already  mentioned  of  having  found  at  some  distance  from  the  place  of 
observation  on  the  7th,  a  mass  of  magnetic  iron  stone,  from  which,  or  from 
other  similar  substances,  it  was  possible  that  the  needle  might  have  sufiered 
some  disturbance.  Captain  Sabine  also  made  some  observations  here  on 
the  intensity  of  the  magnetic  force,  which  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 
In  the  evening,  the  boats  succeeded  in  harpooning  a  narwhal,  to  the  great 
delight  of  our  Greenland  sailors,  who  take  so  much  pleasure  in  the  sport  to 
which  they  have  been  accustomed,  that  they  could  with  difficulty  be 
restrained  at  times  from  striking  a  whale,  though  such  a  frolic  would  almost 
inevitably  have  been  attended  with  the  loss  of  one  or  more  of  our  lines.  A 
few  kittiwakes  and  arctic  gulls  were  flying  about  the  ice. 

A  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  northward  on  the  morning  of  the  12th,  but  Tburs.l2. 
the  weather  was  so  foggy  for  some  hours  that  we  did  not  know  in  what 
direction  it  was  blowing.  As  soon  as  the  fog  cleared  away,  so  as  to  enable 
us  to  see  a  mile  or  two  around  us,  we  found  that  the  floe  to  which  we  had 
anchored  was  drifting  fast  down  upon  another  body  of  ice  to  leeward, 
threatening  to  enclose  the  ships  between  them.  We,  therefore,  cast  off",  and 
made  sail,  in  order  to  beat  to  the  northward,  which  we  found  great  difficulty 
in  doing,  owing  to  the  quantity  of  loose  ice  with  which  this  part  of  the  inlet 
was  now  covered.  A  remarkably  thick  fog  obscured  the  eastern  land  from 
our  view  this  evening  at  the  distance  of  five  or  six  miles,  while  the  western 

G2 


44  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    coast  was  distinctly  visible  at  four  times  that  distance.     We  remarked,   in 

•^^XJ  standing  off  and  on,  near  the  main  body  of  the  ice,  that  the  clear  atmosphere 

commenced  at  a  short  distance  from  its  margin ;    so  that  we  were  enabled  to 

obtain  a  few  lunar  observations  near  the  edge  of  the  ice,  while,  at  the  distance 

'  of  a  mile  to  the  eastward  of  it,  the  sun  was  altogether  obscured  by  fog. 

This  being  the  anniversary  of  the  birth-day  of  His  Royal  Highness  the 
Prince  Regent,  it  naturally  suggested  to  us  the  propriety  of  honouring  the 
large  inlet,  which  we  had  been  exploring,  and  in  which  we  still  were  sailing, 
with  the  name  of  Prince  Regent's  Inlet. 
Frid.  13.  The  weather  was  beautifully  calm  and  clear  on  the  13th,  when,  being 
near  an  opening  in  the  eastern  shore,  I  took  the  opportunity  of  examining 
it  in  a  boat.  It  proved  to  be  a  bay,  a  mile  wide  at  its  entrance,  and  three 
miles  deep  in  E.b.S.  direction,  having  a  small  but  snug  cove  on  the  north 
side,  formed  by  an  island,  between  which  and  the  main  land  is  a  bar  of 
rocks,  which  completely  shelters  the  cove  from  sea  or  drift  ice.  We  found 
the  water  so  deep,  that  in  rowing  close  along  the  shore  we  could  seldom 
get  bottom  with  seven  fathoms  of  line  ;  and,  as  time  could  not  be  spared  to 
obtain  the  exact  depth,  the  soundings  in  the  annexed  Plan  are  necessarily 
very  imperfect.  The  cliffs  on  the  south  side  of  this  bay,  to  which  I  gave 
the  name  of  Port  Bowen,  after  Captain  James  Bowen,  one  of  the  Commis- 
sioners of  His  Majesty's  navy,  resemble,  in  many  places,  ruined  towers  and 
battlements ;  and  fragments  of  the  rocks  were  constantly  falling  from  above. 
At  the  head  of  the  bay  is  an  extensive  piece  of  low,  flat  ground,  intersected 
by  numerous  rivulets,  which,  uniting  at  a  short  distance  from  the  beach, 
formed  a  deep  and  rapid  stream,  near  the  mouth  of  which  we  landed. 
This  spot  was,  I  think,  the  most  barren  I  ever  saw,  the  ground  being  almost 
entirely  covered  with  small  pieces  of  slaty  limestone,  among  which  no 
vegetation  appeared  for  more  than  a  mile,  to  which  distance  Mr.  Ross  and 
myself  walked  inland,  following  the  banks  of  the  stream.  Among  the 
fragments,  we  picked  up  one  piece  of  limestone,  on  which  was  the  impression 
of  a  fossil-shell.  We  saw  here  a  great  number  of  young  black  guillemots, 
(Colymbus  Grylle,)  and  a  flock  of  ducks,  which  we  supposed  to  be  of  the 
eider  species. 

The  latitude  observed  at  the  mouth  of  the  stream  was  73°  12'  11",  and 
the  longitude,  by  chronometers,  89°  02'  08".  The  variation  of  the  needle, 
observed  in  the  morning,  at  three  or  four  miles'  distance  from  the  land,  was 
114°  16'  43"  westerly.     From  twenty  minutes  past  eleven  till  a  quarter  after 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  M 

twelve,  the  tide  rose  by  the  shore  six  inches,  and  the  high-water  mark  was   1819. 
between  two  and  three  feet  above  this :    but  we  were   not  long  enough  on  "^^^ii^' 
shore  to  form  a  correct  judgment  of  the  time  at  which  high  water  takes  place. 
About  three-quarters  of  a  mile  to  the  southward  of  Port  Bowen  is  another 
small  bay,  which  we  had  not  time  to  examine. 

Soon  after  I  returned  on  board,  a  light  breeze  from  the  southward  enabled 
us  to  steer  towards  Prince  Leopold's  Islands,  which,  however,  we  found  to 
be  more  encumbered  with  ice  than  before,  as  we  could  not  approach  them  so 
near  as  at  first  by  three  or  four  miles.  The  narwhals  were  here  very  numerous  ; 
these  animals  appear  fond  of  remaining  with  their  backs  exposed  above  the 
surface  of  the  water,  in  the  same  manner  as  the  whale,  but  for  a  much  longer 
time,  and  we  frequently  also  observed  their  horns  erect,  and  quite  stationary 
for  several  minutes  together.  Three  or  four  miles  to  the  northward  of  Port 
Bowen  we  discovered  another  opening,  having  every  appearance  of  a  harbour, 
with  an  island  near  the  entrance  ;  I  named  it  after  Captain  Samuel  Jackson, 
of  the  Royal  Navy. 

The  whole  of  the  14th  was  occupied  in  an  unsuccessful  attempt  to  find  an  Sat.  14. 
opening  in  the  ice  to  the  westward,  which  remained  perfectly  close  and 
compact,  with  a  bright  ice-blink  over  it.  Our  latitude  at  noon  was  73°  35'  30 ", 
longitude  89°  01'  20",  being  in  two  hundred  and  ten  fathoms  of  water,  on 
a  muddy  bottom.  Some  water,  brought  up  in  Doctor  Marcet's  bottle  from  one 
hundred  and  eighty-five  fathoms,  was  at  the  temperature  of  34°,  that  of  the 
surface  being  the  same,  and  of  the  air  39°. 

The  ice  continued  in  the  same  unfavourable  state  on  the  15th  ;  and  being  Sun.  15. 
desirous  of  turning  to  some  account  this  vexatious  but  unavoidable  detention, 
I  left  the  ship  in  the  afternoon,  accompanied  by  Captain  Sabine  and  Mr. 
Hooper,  in  order  to  make  some  observations  on  shore,  and  directed  Lieute- 
nant Liddon  to  send  a  boat  from  the  Griper  for  the  same  purpose.  We 
landed  in  one  of  the  numerous  valleys,  or  ravines,  which  occur  on  this  part  of 
the  coast,  and  which,  at  a  few  miles'  distance,  very  much  resemble  bays, 
being  bounded  by  high  hills,  which  have  the  appearance  of  bluff  headlands. 
We  found  the  water  very  deep  close  to  the  beach,  which  is  composed  of 
rounded  limestones,  and  on  which  there  was  no  surf ;  we  then  ascended,  with 
some  difficulty,  the  hill  on  the  south  side  of  the  ravine,  which  is  very  steep, 
and  covered  with  innumerable  detached  blocks  of  limestone,  some  of  which 
are  constantly  rolling  down  from  above,  and  which  afford  a  very  insecure 
footing.     From  the  top  of  this  hill,  which  is  about  six  or  seven  hundred  feet 


.46  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  which  commands  an  extensive  view  to  the  wes.t- 
Ji^^,"  ward,  the  prospect  was  by  no  means  favourable  to  the  immediate  accomplish- 
ment of  our  object.  No  water  could  be  seen  over  the  ice  to  the  north-west, 
and  a  bright  and  dazzling  blink  covered  the  whole  space  comprised  between 
the  islands  and  the  north  shore.  It  was  a  satisfaction,  however,  to  find  that 
no  land  appeared  which  was  likely  to  impede  our  progress  ;  and  we  had  been 
too  much  accustomed  to  the  obstruction  occasioned  by  ice,  and  too  well  aware 
of  the  suddenness  with  which  that  obstruction  is  often  removed,  to  be  at  all 
discouraged  by  present  appearances. 

On  the  top  of  this  hill  we  deposited  a  bottle,  containing  a  short  notice  of 
our  visit,  and  raised  over  it  a  small  mound  of  stones;  of  these  we  found  no 
want,  for  the  surface  was  covered  with  small  pieces  of  schistose  limestone, 
and  nothing  like  soil  or  vegetation  could  be  seen.  We  found  a  great  quan- 
tity of  madreporite  among  the  lime,  and  at  the  foot  of  the  hill  I  met  with  one 
large  piece,  of  the  basaltiform  kind.  Several  pieces  of  flint  were  also  picked 
up  on  the  beach.  The  insignificance  of  the  stream  which  here  emptied  itself 
into  the  sea,  formed,  as  usual,  a  striking  contrast  with  the  size  of  the  bed 
through  which  it  flowed,  the  latter  being  several  hundred  feet  deep,  and  two 
or  three  hundred  yards  wide. 

The  latitude  of  this  place  is  73°  33''  15"  N.,  and  the  longitude  by  our  chro- 
nometers, 88°  18'  17";  the  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle  was  87"^  35'.95,  and 
its  variation  115°  37'  12"  westerly.  The  tide  was  found  to  rise  three  feet  from 
ten  minutes  past  three  till  seven  P.M. ;  during  the  whole  of  which  time  the 
stream,  within  one  or  two  miles  of  the  shore,  was  carrying  the  loose  pieces  of 
ice  to  the  southward,  at  the  rate  of  about  a  mile  and-a-half  an  hour.  By 
observing  the  ships,  however,  at  five  miles'  distance  in  the  offing,  I  had  reason 
to  believe  that  they  were  set  in  the  contrary  direction,  and  that  the  current 
observed  by  us  in-shore,  was  only  an  eddy,  and  not  the  true  direction  of  the 
flood-tide.  The  time  of  high  water  here,  on  full  and  change  days  of  the  moon, 
will  probably  be  about  eleven  o'clock.  A  very  large  black  whale  was  seen 
near  the  beach,  and  a  great  number  of  seals,  though  seldom  more  than  two  of 
the  latter  together.  We  saw  one,  of  the  kind  called  by  the  sailors,  "  saddle- 
back," (Phoca  GrcBiilandica.) 
Mon.  16.  The  wind  was  light  on  the  16th,  with  cloudy  weather,  and  occasional  fogs, 
and  we  scarcely  altered  our  position,  being  hemmed  in  by  ice  or  land  in 
almost  every  direction.  At  five  P.M.,  it  being  quite  calm,  we  had  a  good 
opportunity   of  trying  the  set  of  the  tide,  which,  by  the  preceding  day's 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  -ff 

observations,  we  knew  to  be  rising  at  this  time  by  the  shore.  A  small  boat  1819. 
was  moored  to  the  bottom,  which  consisted  of  soft  mud,  in  one  hundred  and  ^J^X!^ 
ninety-one  fathoms,  by  a  deep-sea  lead  weighing  one  hundred  and  fifty 
pounds,  and  a  current  was  found  to  be  setting  to  the  N.N.W.,  at  the  rate  of 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  an  hour.  This  served  to  confirm  the  remark  I  had  made 
the  preceding  day  respecting  the  drift  of  the  ships  in  the  ofiing ;  and,  unless 
there  be  what  seamen  call  a  "  tide  and  half  tide,"  would  appear  to  establish 
the  fact  of  the  flood-tide  coming  from  the  southward  in  this  part  of  Prince 
Regent's  Inlet. 

On  the  17th,  we  had  a  fresh  breeze,  from  the  S.S.W.,  with  so  thick  a  fog,  Tues.  17. 
that  in  spite  of  the  most  unremitting  attention  to  the  sails  and  the  steerage, 
the  ships  were  constantly  receiving  heavy  shocks  from  the  loose  masses  of 
ice  with  which  the  sea  was  covered,  and  which,  in  the  present  state  of  the 
weather,  could  not  be  distinguished  at  a  sufficient  distance  to  avoid  them. 
On  the  weather  clearing  up  in  the  afternoon,  we  saw,  for  the  first  time,  a 
remarkable  blufi^  headland,  which  forms  the  north-eastern  point  of  the  en- 
trance into  Prince  Regent's  Inlet,  and  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  Cape 
York,  after  His  Royal  Highness  the  Duke  of  York.  A  little  to  the  east- 
ward of  Cape  Fellfoot,  we  observed  six  remarkable  stripes  of  snow,  near 
the  top  of  the  cliff',  being  very  conspicuous  at  a  great  distance,  when  viewed 
from  the  southward.  These  stripes,  which  are  foniied  by  the  drift  of  snow 
between  the  buttress-like  projections  before  described,  and  which  remained 
equally  conspicuous  on  our  return  the  following  year,  have  probably  at  all 
times  much  the  same  appearance,  at  least  about  this  season  of  the  year, 
and  may,  on  this  account,  perhaps,  be  deemed  worthy  of  notice,  as  a 
landmark. 

At  half-past  ten  A.M.,  on  the  18th,  it  being  quite  calm,  the  small  boat  was  Wed.  18. 
moored  to  the  bottom,  in  two  hundred  and  ten  fathoms,  by  which  means  the 
current  was  ascertained  to  be  setting  W.S.W.,  at  the  rate  of  a  mile  and-a-half 
an  hour ;  and,  from  our  preceding  observations  on  the  time  of  the  tides  on 
shore  in  this  neighbourhood,  it  can  scarcely  be  doubted  that  this  was  the 
ebb-tide. 

Mr.  Crawford,  the  Greenland  mate  of  the  Hecla,  being  in  quest  of  a 
narwhal  in  one  of  the  boats,  could  not  resist  the  temptation  of  striking  a  fine 
black  whale,  which  rose  close  to  him,  and  which  soon  ran  out  two  lines  of  one 
hundred  and  forty  fathoms  each,  when,  after  towing  the  boat  some  distance, 
the  harpoon  fortunately  drew,  and  thus  saved  our  lines. 


48  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  There  being  still  no  prospect  of  getting  a  single  mile  to  the  westward  in 
^^^^  the  neighbourhood  of  Prince  Leopold's  Islands,  and  a  breeze  having 
freshened  up  from  the  eastward  in  the  afternoon,  I  determined  to  stand  over 
once  more  towards  the  northern  shore,  in  order  to  try  what  could  there  be 
done  towards  effecting  our  passage ;  and  at  nine  P.M.,  after  beating  for 
several  hours  among  floes  and  streams  of  ice,  we  got  into  clear  water 
near  that  coast,  where  we  found  some  swell  from  the  eastward.  There 
was  just  light  enough  at  midnight  to  enable  us  to  read  and  write  in  the 
cabin. 
Thur.  19.  The  wind  and  sea  increased  on  the  19th,  with  a  heavy  fall  of  snow,  which, 
together  with  the  uselessness  of  the  compasses,  and  the  narrow  space  in 
which  we  were  working  between  the  ice  and  the  land,  combined  to  make  our 
situation  for  several  hours  a  very  unpleasant  one.  At  two  P.M.,  the  weather 
being  still  so  thick,  that  we  could  at  times  scarcely  see  the  ship's  length 
a-head,  we  suddenly  found  ourselves  close  under  the  land,  and  had  not 
much  room  to  spare  in  wearing  round.  We  stood  ofF-and-on  during  the  rest 
of  the  day,  measuring  our  distance  by  Massey's  patent  log,  an  invaluable 
machine  on  this  and  many  other  occasions ;  and  in  the  course  of  the 
afternoon,  found  ourselves  opposite  to  an  inlet,  which  I  named  after  my 
relation.  Sir  Benjamin  Hobhouse.  The  snow  was  succeeded  by  rain  at 
night ;  after  which  the  wind  fell,  and  the  weather  became  clear,  so  that,  on 
Frid.  20.  the  moming  of  the  20th,  when  we  found  ourselves  off  Stratton  Inlet,  we 
were  enabled  to  bear  up  along  shore  to  the  westward.  The  points  of  ice 
led  us  occasionally  within  two  miles  of  the  land,  which  allowed  us  to 
look  into  several  small  bays  or  inlets,  with  which  this  coast  appears  in- 
dented, but  which  it  would  require  more  time  than  we  could  afford, 
thoroughly  to  survey  or  examine.  The  remarkable  structure  of  this  land,  which 
I  have  before  attempted  to  describe,  is  peculiarly  striking  about  Cape  Fellfoot, 
where  the  horizontal  strata  very  much  resemble  two  parallel  tiers  of  batteries, 
placed  at  regular  intervals  from  the  top  to  the  bottom  of  the  cliff,  affording 
a  grand  and  imposing  appearance.  There  is  a  low  point  running  off  some 
distance  from  Cape  Fellfoot.  which  is  not  visible  till  approached  within  five 
or  six  miles.  We  passed  along  this  point  at  the  distance  of  four  miles, 
finding  no  bottom  with  from  fifty  to  sixty-five  fathoms  of  line.  Maxwell  Bay 
isa  very  noble  one,  having  several  islands  in  it,  and  a  number  of  openings 
on  its  northern  shore,  which  we  could  not  turn  aside  to  explore.  It  was, 
however,  quite  free  from  ice,  and  might  easily  have  been  examined,  had  it 


Sat.  21. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  40 

been  our  object  to  do  so,  and  time  would  have  permitted.     A  remarkable 
headland,  on  the  western  side,  I  named  after  Sir  William  Herschel.  August. 

At  six  P.M.,  when  we  had  passed  to  the  westward  of  Maxwell  Bay,  the 
wind  failed  us,  and  the  opportunity  was  immediately  taken  to  try  the  current 
by  mooring  the  small  boat  to  the  bottom  in  one  hundred  and  fifty  fathoms. 
The  tide  was  found  to  set  W.  5  N.,  at  the  rate  of  a  quarter  of  a  mile  per 
hour ;  and  at  nine  o'clock,  when  we  tried  it  again  in  a  similar  manner,  there 
was  still  a  slight  stream  perceptible,  setting  in  the  same  direction.  The  mud 
and  small  black  stones,  brought  up  from  the  bottom,  consisted  entirely  of 
limestone,  effervescing  strongly  with  an  acid. 

On  the  2Ist  we  had  nothing  to  impede  our  progress  but  the  want  of  wind, 
the  great  opening,  through  which  we  had  hitherto  proceeded  from  Baffin's  Bay 
being  now  so  perfectly  clear  of  ice,  that  it  was  almost  impossible  to  believe  it  to 
be  the  same  part  of  the  sea,  which,  but  a  day  or  two  before,  had  been  completely 
covered  with  floes  to  the  utmost  extent  of  our  view.  In  the  forenoon,  beino- 
off  a  headland,  which  was  named  after  Captain  Thomas  Hurd,  Hydrographer 
to  the  Admiralty,  we  picked  up  a  small  piece  of  wood,  which  appeared  to  have 
been  the  end  of  a  boat's  yard,  and  which  caused  sundry  amusing  speculations 
among  our  gentlemen  ;  some  of  whom  had  just  come  to  the  very  natural 
conclusion,  that  a  ship  had  been  here  before  us,  and  that,  therefore,  we  were 
aot  entitled  to  the  honour  of  the  first  discovery  of  that  part  of  the  sea  on 
which  we  were  now  sailing ;  when  a  stop  was  suddenly  put  to  this  and  other 
ingenious  inductions  by  the  information  of  one  of  the  seamen,  that  he  had 
dropped  it  out  of  his  boat  a  fortnight  before.  I  could  not  get  him  to  recollect 
exactly  the  day  on  which  it  had  been  so  dropped,  but  what  he  stated  was  suf- 
ficient to  convince  me,  that  we  were  not  at  that  time  more  than  ten  or  twelve 
leagues  from  our  present  situation  ;  perhaps  not  half  so  much ;  and  that, 
therefore,  here  was  no  current  setting  constantly  in  any  one  direction.  A 
bay,  to  the  northward  and  westward  of  Cape  Hurd,  was  called  Rigby 
Bay. 

At  nine  P.M.,  the  wind  being  light  from  the  northward,  with  hazy 
weather,  and  some  clouds,  the  electrometer  chain  was  hoisted  up  to  the 
masthead ;  but  no  sensible  effect  was  produced,  either  upon  the  pith-balls  or 
the  gold-leaf.  A  thick  fog  came  on  at  night,  which,  together  with  the 
lightness  of  the  wind,  and  the  caution  necessary  in  navigating  an  unknown 
sea  under  such  circumstances,  rendered  our  progress  to  the  westward  ex- 
tremely slow,    though   we  had  fortunately   no   ice    to    obstruct  us.      The 


Sun.  2-2. 


50  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

jgjg     narwhals  were  blowing  about  us  in  all  directions,  and  two  walruses  with  a 
August,  young  one  were  seen  upon  a  piece  of  ice. 

The  fog  clearing  up  on  the  following  day,  we  found  ourselves  abreast  a  bay, 
to  which  the  name  of  RadstockBay  was  subsequently  given  by  Lieut.  Liddon's 
desire,  in  compliment  to  the  Earl  of  Radstock.  This  bay  is  formed  by  a 
point  of  land,  on  the  eastern  side,  which  I  named  Cape  Eardley  Wilmot  ; 
and  on  the  western,  by  a  bluff  headland,  which  was  called  after  Captain 
Tristram  Robert  Ricketts,  of  the  Royal  Navy.  In  the  centre  of  Radstock 
bay,  lies  an  insular-looking  piece  of  land,  which  received  the  name  of 
Caswall's  Tower.  We  now  also  caught  a  glimpse  of  more  land  to  the 
southward ;  but,  owing  to  a  thick  haze  which  hung  over  the  horizon  in 
that  quarter,  the  continuity  of  land  on  a  great  part  of  that  coast,  to 
the  westward  of  Cape  Clarence,  remained,  for  the  present,  undetermined. 
Immediately  to  the  westward  of  us,  we  discovered  more  land,  occupying 
several  points  of  the  horizon,  Avhich  renewed  in  us  considerable  appre- 
hension, lest  we  should  still  find  no  passage  open  into  the  Polar  sea.  As  we 
advanced  slowly  to  the  westward,  the  land  on  which  Cape  Ricketts  stands,  ap- 
peared to  be  nearly  insular ;  and,  immediately  to  the  westward  of  it,  we  disco- 
vered a  considerable  opening,  which  we  called  Gascoyne's  Inlet,  after  General 
Gascoyne,  and  which  I  should  have  been  glad  to  examine  in  a  boat,  had  time 
permitted.  In  the  afternoon,  the  weather  became  very  clear  and  fine,  the  wind 
being  light  from  the  westward.  As  this  latter  circumstance  rendered  our  progress 
very  slow,  the  opportunity  was  taken  to  despatch  the  boats  on  shore,  for  the 
purpose  of  making  observations ;  and  at  the  same  time,  a  boat  from  each  ship, 
under  the  respective  command  of  Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner,  was  sent 
to  examine  a  bay,  at  no  great  distance  to  the  northward  and  westward 
of  us.  The  first  party  landed  at  the  foot  of  a  bluff  headland,  which  forais  the 
eastern  point  of  this  bay,  and  which  I  named  after  my  friend  Mr.  Richard  Riley, 
of  the  Admiralty.  They  had  scarcely  landed  ten  minutes,  when  a  fresh  breeze 
unexpectedly  sprung  up  from  the  eastward,  and  their  signal  of  recall  was 
immediately  made.  They  were  only,  therefore,  enabled  to  obtain  a  part  of 
the  intended  observations,  by  which  the  latitude  was  found  to  be  74°  39'  51", 
the  longitude  91°  47"  36".8,  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle 
128°  58'  07"  westerly.  The  cliffs  on  this  part  of  the  coast  were  observed  to 
consist  almost  entirely  of  secondary  limestone,  in  which  fossils  were  abun- 
dantly found.  There  was  little  or  no  vegetation  in  those  parts  which  ouir 
gentlemen  had  an  opportunity  of  examining  during  their  short  excursion  ;  but 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE'.  M 

as  a  quantity  of  the  dung  of  rein-deer  was  brought  on  board,  the  interior  of    181^. 
the  country  cannot  be  altogether  unproductive.     One  or  two  specimens  of  the  ^^^li^ 
silvery  gull,  fLarus  Argentatus,)  and  of  the  Lams  Glaucus,  with  the  young  of 
the  latter  alive,  were  obtained  by  Captain   Sabine ;    and  five  black  whales 
were  seen  near  the  beach. 

Lieutenant  Beechey  found  that  the  land,  which  at  this  time  formed  the 
western  extreme,  and  which  lies  on  the  side  of  the  bay,  opposite  to 
Cape  Riley,  was  an  island;  to  which  I,  therefore,  gave  the  name  of  Beechey 
Island,  out  of  respect  to  Sir  William  Beechey.  Immediately  off  Cape  Riley, 
runs  a  low  jjoint,  which  had  some  appearance  of  shoal-water  near  it, 
there  being  a  strong  ripple  on  the  surface  ;  but  Lieutenant  Hoppner  re- 
ported, that  he  could  find  no  bottom  with  thirty-nine  fathoms,  at  the  distance 
of  two  hundred  yards  from  it. 

As  soon  as  the  boats  returned,  all  sail  was  made  to  the  westward,  where 
the  prospect  began  to  wear  a  more  and  more  interesting  appearance.  We 
soon  perceived,  as  we  proceeded,  that  the  land,  along  which  we  were 
sailing,  and  which,  with  the  exception  of  some  small  inlets,  had  appeared 
to  be  hitherto  continuous  from  Baffin's  Bay,  began  now  to  trend  much 
to  the  northward,  beyond  Beechey  Island,  leaving  a  large  open  space  be- 
tween that  coast  and  the  distant  land  to  the  westward,  which  now  appeared 
like  an  island,  of  which  the  extremes  to  the  north  and  south  Were  distinctly 
visible.  The  latter  was  a  remarkable  headland,having  at  its  extremity  two  small 
table  hills,  somewhat  resembling  boats  turned  bottom  upwards,  and  was  named 
Cape  Hotham,  after  Rear- Admiral  the  Honourable  Sir  Henry  Hotham,  one  of 
the  Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty.  At  sunset  we  had  a  clear  and 
extensive  view  to  the  northward,  between  Cape  Hotham  and  the  eastern 
land.  On  the  latter  several  headlands  were  discovered  and  named  ;  between 
the  northernmost  of  these,  called  Cape  Bowden,  and  the  island  to  the  west- 
ward, there  was  a  channel  of  more  than  eight  leagues  in  width,  in  which 
neither  land  nor  ice  could  be  seen  from  the  mast-head.  To  this  noble 
channel  I  gave  the  name  of  Wellington,  after  his  Grace  the  Master-General 
of  the  Ordnance.  The  arrival  off  this  grand  opening  was  an  event  for  which 
we  had  long  been  looking  with  much  anxiety  and  impatience  ;  for,  the  con- 
tinuity of  land  to  the  northward  had  always  been  a  source  of  uneasiness  to 
us,  principally  from  the  possibility  that  it  might  take  a  turn  to  the  southward 
and  unite  with  the  coast  of  America.  The  appearance  of  this  broad 
opening,  free  from  ice,  and  of  the  land  on  each  side  of  it,  more   especially 


52  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  that  on  the  west,  leaving  scarcely  a  doubt  on  our  minds  of  the  latter  being  an 
Ji^Iilj  island,  relieved  us  from  all  anxiety  on  that  score  ;  and  every  one  felt  that  we 
were  now  finally  disentangled  from  the  land  which  forms  the  western  side  of 
Baffin's  Bay  ;  and  that,  in  fact,  we  had  actually  entered  the  Polar  sea.  Fully  im- 
pressed with  this  idea,  I  ventured  to  distinguish  themagnificentopeningthrough 
which  our  passage  had  been  effected  from  Baffin's  bay  to  Wellington  channel, 
by  the  name  of  Barrow's  Strait,  after  my  friend,  Mr.  Barrow,  Secretary  of  the 
Admiralty  ;  both  as  a  private  testimony  of  my  esteem  for  that  gentleman,  and 
as  a  public  acknowledgment  due  to  him  for  his  zeal  and  exertions  in  the 
promotion  of  Northern  Discovery.  To  the  land  on  which  Cape  Hotham  is 
situated,  and  whicl^  is  the  easternmost  of  the  group  of  islands,)  as  we  found 
them  to  be  by  subsequent  discovery,)  in  the  Polar  sea,  I  gave  the  name  of 
CoRNWALLis  Island,  after  Admiral  the  Honourable  Sir  William  Cornwallis, 
my  first  naval  friend  and  patron  ;  and  an  inlet,  seven  miles  to  the  northward 
of  Cape  Hotham,  was  called  Barlow  Inlet,  as  a  testimony  of  my  respect  for 
Sir  Robert  Barlow,  one  of  the  Commissioners  of  His  Majesty's  navy. 

Though  two-thirds  of  the  month  of  August  had  now  elapsed,  I  had  every 
reason  to  be  satisfied  with  the  progress  which  we  had  hitherto  made.  I  cal- 
culated upon  the  sea  being  still  navigable  for  six  weeks  to  come,  and  pro- 
bably more  if  the  state  of  the  ice  would  permit  us  to  edge  away  to  the  south- 
ward in  our  progress  westerly:  our  prospects,  indeed,  were  truly  exhila- 
rating ;  the  ships  had  suffered  no  injury ;  we  had  plenty  of  provisions ; 
crews  in  high  health  and  spirits ;  a  sea,  if  not  open,  at  least  navigable  ;  and 
a  zealous  and  unanimous  determination  in  both  officers  and  men  to  ac- 
complish, by  all  possible  means,  the  grand  object  on  which  we  had  the  hap- 
piness to  be  employed. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  53 


CHAPTER  III. 


FAVOURABLE  APPEARANCES  OF  AN  OPEN  WESTERLY  PASSAGE — LAND  TO  THE 
NORTHWARD,  A  SERIES  OF  ISLANDS — GENERAL  APPEARANCE  OF  THEM — 
MEET  WITH  SOME  OBSTRUCTION  FROM  LOW  ISLANDS  SURROUNDED  WITH 
ICE — REMAINS  OP  ESQUIMAUX  HUTS,  AND  NATURAL  PRODUCTIONS  OF  BYAM 

MARTIN  ISLAND TEDIOUS  NAVIGATION  FROM  FOGS  AND  ICE — DIFFICULTY  OF 

STEERING  A  PROPER  COURSE ARRIVAL   AND  LANDING  ON  MELVILLE  ISLAND 

— PROCEED  TO  THE  WESTWARD,  AND  REACH  THE  MERIDIAN  OF  110°  W. 
LONG.,  THE  FIRST  STAGE  IN  THE  SCALE  OF  REWARDS  GRANTED  BY  ACT 
OF    PARLIAMENT. 

1819. 

A  CALM  which  prevailed  during  the  night  kept  us  nearly  stationary  off  August. 
Beechey  Island  till  three  A.M.  on  the  23d,  when  a  fresh  breeze  sprung  up  Mon.  23. 
from  the  northward,  and  all  sail  was  made  for  Cape  Hotham,  to  the  south- 
ward of  which  it  was  now  my  intention  to  seek  a  direct  passage  towards 
Behring's  Strait.  Wellington  channel,  to  the  northward  of  us,  was  as  open 
and  navigable,  to  the  utmost  extent  of  our  view,  as  any  part  of  the  Atlantic, 
but  as  it  lay  at  right  angles  to  our  course,  and  there  was  still  an  opening  at 
least  ten  leagues  wide  to  the  southward  of  Cornwallis  Island,  I  could  fortu- 
nately have  no  hesitation  in  deciding  which  of  the  two  it  was  our  business  to 
pursue.  If,  however,  the  sea  to  the  westward,  which  was  our  direct  course,  had 
been  obstructed  by  ice,  and  the  wind  had  been  favourable,  such  was  the  tempt- 
ing appearance  of  Wellington  channel,  in  which  there  was  no  visible  impedi- 
ment, that  I  should  probably  have  been  induced  to  run  through  it,  as  a  degree 
more  or  less  to  the  northward  made  little  or  no  difference  in  the  distance  we 
had  to  run  to  Icy  Cape.     The  open  channel  to  the  westward  did  not,  how- 


54f  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  ever,  reduce  me  to  this  dilemma.  It  is  impossible  to  conceive  any  thing 
J^^^'  more  animating  than  the  quick  and  unobstructed  run  with  which  we  were 
favoured,  from  Beechey  Island  across  to  Cape  Hotham.  Most  m«n  have, 
probably,  at  one  time  or  another,  experienced  that  elevation  of  spirits  which 
is  usually  produced  by  rapid  motion  of  any  kind;  and  it  will  readily  be  con- 
ceived how  much  this  feeling  was  heightened  in  us,  in  the  few  instances  in 
which  it  occurred,  by  the  slow  and  tedious  manner  in  which  the  greater  part 
of  our  navigation  had  been  perfonned  in  these  seas.  Our  disappointment 
may  therefore  be  imagined,  when,  in  the  midst  of  these  favourable  appear- 
ances, and  of  the  hope  with  which  they  had  induced  us  to  flatter  our- 
selves, it  was  suddenly  and  unexpectedly  reported  from  the  crow's- 
nest,  that  a  body  of  ice  lay  directly  across  the  passage  between  Cornwallis 
Island  and  the  land  to  the  southward.  As  we  approached  this  obstruction, 
which  commenced  about  Cape  Hotham,  we  found  that  there  was,  for  the 
present,  no  opening  in  it  through  which  a  passage  could  be  attempted. 
After  lying  to  for  an  hour,  however,  Lieutenant  Beechey  discovered  from  the 
crow's-nest,  that  one  narrow  neck  appeared  to  consist  of  loose  pieces  of 
heavy  ice  detached  from  the  main  floes  which  composed  the  barrier,  and  that, 
beyond  this,  there  was  a  considerable  extent  of  open  water.  The  Hecla  was 
immediately  pushed  into  this  part  of  the  ice,  and,  after  a  quarter  of  an  hour's 
"  boring,"  during  which  the  breeze  had,  as  usual,  nearly  deserted  us,  suc- 
ceeded in  forcing  her  way  through  the  neck.  The  Griper  followed  in  the 
opening  which  the  Hecla  had  made,  and  we  continued  our  course  to  the 
westward,  having  once  more  a  navigable  sea  before  us. 

We  now  remarked,  that  a  very  decided  change  had  taken  place  in  the 
character  of  the  land  to  the  northward  of  us  since  leaving  Beechey  Island ; 
the  coast  near  the  latter  being  bold  and  precipitous  next  the  sea,  with  very 
deep  water  close  to  it,  while  the  shores  of  Cornwallis  Island  rise  with  a 
gradual  ascent  from  a  beach  which  appeared  to  be  composed  of  sand.  During 
the  forenoon  we  passed  several  riplings  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  which 
were  probably  occasioned  by  the  set  of  the  tides  round  each  end  of  Corn- 
wallis Island,  as  we  found  a  depth  of  ninety-five  fathoms.  An  opening  was 
seen  in  the  southern  land,  which  I  distinguished  by  the  name  of  Cunning- 
ham Inlet,  after  Captain  Charles  Cunningham  of  the  Royal  Navy,  resident 
Commissioner  at  Deptford  and  Woolwich,  to  whose  kindness  and  attention . 
we  were  much  indebted  during  the  equipment  of  the  ships  for  this  service.  A 
bluff'  and  remarkable  cape,  which  forms  the   eastern  point  of  Cunningham 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  55 

Inlet  obtained,  by  Lieutenant  Hoppner's  desire,  the  name  of  Cape  Gifford,  1819. 
out  of  respect  to  his  friend,  Mr.  Gifford,  a  gentleman  well  known  and  highly  ^^^^' 
respected,  as  he  deserves  to  be,  in  the  literary  world.  To  the  eastward  of 
Cape  Gifford,  a  thick  haze  covered  the  horizon,  and  it  prevented  us  from 
seeing  more  land  in  that  direction  ;  so  that  its  continuity  from  hence  to  Cape 
Clarence  still  remained  undetermined,  while,  to  the  westward,  it  seemed  to 
be  terminated  rather  abruptly  by  a  headland,  which  I  distinguished  by  the 
name  of  Cape  Bunny. 

At  noon,  we  had  reached  the  longitude  of  94°  43'  15",  the  latitude,  by 
observation,  being  74°  20'  52",  when  we  found  that  the  land  which  then 
formed  the  western  extreme  on  this  side  was  a  second  island,  which, 
after  Rear-Admiral  Edavard  Griffith,  I  called  Griffith  Island.  Imme- 
diately opposite  to  this,  upon  Cornwallis  Island,  is  a  conspicuous  headland, 
which,  at  some  distance,  has  the  appearance  of  being  detached,  but  which, 
on  a  nearer  approach,  was  found  to  be  joined  by  a  piece  of  low  land.  To 
this  I  gave  the  name  of  Cape  Martyr,  after  a  much  esteemed  friend.  At 
two  P.M.,  having  reached  the  longitude  of  95°  07',  we  came  to  some  heavy 
and  extensive  floes  of  ice,  which  obliged  us  to  tack,  there  being  no  passage 
between  them.  We  beat  to  the  northward  during  the  whole  of  the  after- 
noon, with  a  fresh  breeze  from  that  quarter,  in  the  hope  of  finding  a 
narrow  channel  under  the  lee  of  Griffith  Island.  In  this  expectation  we 
were,  however,  disappointed,  for,  at  eight  P.M.,  we  were  near  enough  to 
perceive  not  only  that  the  ice  was  quite  close  to  the  shore,  but  that  it 
appeared  not  to  have  been  detached  from  it  at  all  during  this  season.  We, 
therefore,  bore  up,  and  ran  again  to  the  southward,  where  the  sea  by  this 
time  had  become  rather  more  clear  along  the  lee  margin  of  a  large  field  of 
ice  extending  far  to  the  westward.  The  ice  in  this  neighbourhood  was 
covered  with  innumerable  "  hummocks,"  such  as  I  have  before  endea- 
voured to  describe  as  occurring  in  the  southern  part  of  Prince  Regent's 
Inlet,  and  the  floes  were  from  seven  to  ten  feet  in  thickness.  It  may  bete 
be  remarked,  as  a  fact  not  altogether  unworthy  of  notice,  that,  from  the 
time  of  our  entering  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  till  we  had  passed  the 
meridian  of  92°,  near  which  the  northern  shore  of  Barrow's  Strait  ceases  to 
be  continuous,  the  wind,  as  is  commonly  the  case  in  inlets  of  this  kind, 
had  invariably  blown  in  a  direction  nearly  due  east  or  due  west,  being  that 
of  the  shores  of  the  strait.  When,  therefore,  we  experienced  to-day,  for 
the    first  time,   a   fresh   breeze   blowing  steadily  from  the  northward,   or 


5S  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    directly  off  the  land,  we  were  willing,  though  perhaps  without  much  reason, 
v,*^^  to  construe  this  circumstance  into   an  additional  indication  of  the   shores 


near  which  we  were  now  sailing  being  altogether  composed  of  islands,  down 
the  channels  between  which  the  wind  blew,  and  that  therefore  no  obstruction 
from  continued  land  was  any  longer  to  be  apprehended. 

After  various  unsuccessful  attempts  to  get  through  the  ice  which  now  lay 
in  our  way,  we  were  at  length  so  fortunate  as  to  accomplish  this  object  by 
"  boring"  through  several  heavy  "  streams,"  which  occasioned  the  ships  to 
receive  many  severe  shocks  ;  and,  at  half  an  hour  before  midnight,  we  were 
enabled  to  pursue  our  course,  through  "sailing  ice,''  to  the  westward. 
Tues.  24.  A  fog  came  on,  on  the  morning  of  the  24th,  which  once  more  reduced  us 
to  the  necessity  of  depending  on  the  steadiness  of  the  wind  for  a  knowledge 
of  the  direction  in  which  we  were  steering,  or  of  having  recourse  to  the 
unpleasant  alternative  of  heaving  to,  till  the  weather  should  become  clear. 
The  former  Avas,  of  course,  preferred,  and  we  pushed  on  with  all  the  canvass 
which  the  Griper's  bad  sailing  would  allow  us  to  carry,  using  the  very 
necessary  precaution  of  keeping  the  hand-leads  constantly  going.  We 
passed  one  field  of  ice,  of  immense  length,  the  distance  which  we  ran 
along  it,  without  meeting  a  single  break  in  it,  being,  according  to  the 
report  of  the  officers,  from  eight  to  ten  miles,  and  its  general  thickness 
about  eight  feet.  In  this  manner  we  had  sailed  between  fifteen  and  twenty 
miles  in  a  tolerably  clear  sea,  when,  on  the  fog  clearing  away,  at  seven 
A.M.,  we  found,  by  the  bearings  of  the  sun,  that  the  wind  had  not  deceived 
us,  and  that  we  had  made  nearly  all  westing  during  the  night's  run.  We 
also  saw  land  to  the  northward  of  us,  at  the  distance  of  nine  or  ten  miles, 
appearing  like  an  island,  which  it  afterwards  proved  to  be,  and  which  I 
named  after  Viscount  Lowther,  one  of  the  lords  of  His  Majesty's  treasury. 
Shortly  after,  we  also  saw  land  to  the  south,  so  that  we  could  not  but  consider 
ourselves  fortunate  in  having  steered  so  directly  in  the  proper  course  for 
sailing  in  this  channel  during  the  continuance  of  the  foggy  weather.  The 
land  to  the  southward  was  high  and  bold,  being  terminated  to  the  eastward 
by  a  bluff  headland,  which  I  named  after  Mr.  Walker,  of  the  Hydrographical 
Office,  at  the  Admiralty.  Immediately  at  the  back  of  Cape  Walker,  or  to  the 
southward  of  it,  the  loom  of  land  was  distinctly  visible,  but,  from  the  state  of 
Ihe  weather,  we  could  not  ascertain  its  extent.  We  here  obtained  soundings 
in  sixty-three  fathoms,  on  g,  bottom  of  sand  and  small  stones,  with  some  pieces 
of  coral. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  -.S^ 

The  wind,  drawing  more  to  the  westward  soon  after  the  clearing  up  of  1819. 
the  fog,  obliged  us  to  beat  to  windward  during  the  rest  of  the  day  between  ^^^li^' 
the  two  lands,  that  to  the  southward  being  loaded  with  ice,  while  the 
shores  of  Lowther  Island  were  perfectly  clear  and  accessible.  As  we 
stood  in  towards  the  south-west  point  of  the  island,  in  the  afternoon,  we 
found  the  water  deepen  from  sixty-five  to  seventy-six  fathoms,  the  latter 
soundings  being  at  the  distance  of  two  miles  and  a  half  from  the  shore : 
and,  in  standing  off  again  to  the  south-westward,  came  rather  unexpectedly  to 
a  low  sandy-looking  island,  having  a  great  deal  of  heavy  ice  aground  near 
it;  to  this  I  gave  the  name  of  Young's  Island,  after  Dr.  Thomas  Young, 
Secretary  to  the  Board  of  Longitude.  We  tacked  in  thirty-four  fathoms 
at  three  miles'  distance  from  this  island;  and,  from  the  quantity  of  heavy 
ice  near  it,  which  is  a  never-failing  beacon  in  these  seas,  it  seems  more  than 
probable  that  it  is  surrounded  by  shoal  water. 

It  now  became  evident  that  all  the  land  around  us  consisted  of  islands,  and 
the  comparative  shoaliness  of  the  water  made  great  caution  necessary  in  pro- 
ceeding, surrounded  as  we  were  by  both  land  and  ice  in  almost  every  direction. 

In  the  course  of  the  evening,  more  land  came  in  sight  to  the  northward ; 
but  the  distance  was  at  this  time  too  great  to  enable  us  to  distinguish  its 
situation  and  extent. 

Early  on  the  following  morning,  Lieutenant  Beechey  discovered,  from  the  Wed.  25. 
crow's  nest,  a  second  low  island,  resembling  Young's  Island  in  size  and 
appearance,  and  lying  between  three  and  four  leagues  to  the  northward 
of  it.  I  gave  it  the  name  of  Davy  Island,  after  Sir  Humphry  Davy,  now 
President  of  the  Royal  Society.  The  nearest  land  which  we  had  seen  to 
the  northward,  on  the  preceding  evening,  proved  to  be  another  island, 
four  or  five  miles  long  from  east  to  west,  which  I  distinguished  by  the  name 
of  Garrett  Island,  out  of  respect  to  my  much-esteemed  friend  Captain 
Henry  Garrett,  of  the  royal  navy,  to  whose  kind  offices  and  friendly 
attention  during  the  time  of  our  equipment,  I  must  ever  feel  highly 
indebted.  The  land  to  the  northward  of  Garrett  Island  was  found  to  be 
another  island  of  considerable  extent,  having,  towards  its  eastern  end,  a  remark- 
able peaked  hillock,  very  conspicuous  when  seen  from  the  southward. 
I  named  this  Bathurst  Island,  in  honour  of  the  Earl  of  Bathurst,  one  of 
His  Majesty's  principal  secretaries  of  state,  and  a  bay  near  its  south-eastern 
point,  was  called  Bedford  Bay. 

The   islands  which  we  had  discovered  during  this  day's  navigation,  among 


58  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  which  I  have  not  ventured  to  include  the  land  to  the  southward  of  Lowther 
^^^li^'  Island,  of  which  we  obtained  a  very  imperfect  view,  are  generally  of  a 
moderate  height,  not  exceeding  perhaps  four  or  five  hundred  feet  above 
the  level  of  the  sea.  With  the  exception  of  some  parts  of  Bathurst  Island, 
which  have  a  more  rugged  aspect  and  which  rise  to  a  greater  elevation 
than  this,  we  found  them  entirely  clear  of  snow,  and  when  the  sun  was  shining 
upon  them^  they  exhibited  a  brown  appearance.  In  standing  in  towards 
Garrett  Island,  the  water  was  found  to  deepen  from  forty  to  sixty-five, 
seventy,  and  eighty  fathoms ;  the  latter  soundings  occurring  at  two  miles 
distance  from  the  south-eastern  point  of  the  island,  where  we  suddenly 
met  with  a  strong  rippling  on  the  surface  of  the  water :  as  no  irregularity  could 
be  found  in  the  bottom,  this  rippling  was  perhaps  occasioned  by  the  meeting 
of  the  tides  in  this  place. 
Thur.  26.  We  had  seen  no  whales  nor  narwhals  since  leaving  Cape  Riley  on  the 
morning  of  the  23d ;  and  it  was  now  remarked,  not  without  some  degree  of  un- 
pleasant feeling,  that  not  a  single  bird,  nor  any  other  living  creature,  had  for 
the  whole  of  this  day  made  its  appearance.  It  was,  however  encouraging  to 
find,  while  advancing  to  the  westward,  as  fast  as  an  unfavourable  Avind  would 
permit,  that,  although  the  sea  beyond  us  was  for  the  most  part  covered  with 
a  compact  and  undivided  body  of  ice,  yet  that  a  channel  of  sufficient  breadth 
was  still  left  open  for  us  between  it  and  the  shore,  under  the  lee  of  Bathurst 
Island.  The  ice  here  consisted  almost  entirely  of  fields,  the  limits  of  which 
were  not  visible  from  the  mast  head,  and  which  were  covered  with  the  same 
kind  of  hummocks  as  before  described.  The  westernmost  land  now  in  sight  was 
a  cape,  which  I  named  after  Vice-Admiral  Sir  George  Cockburn,  one  of  the 
Lords  Commissioners  of  the  Admiralty.  This  cape  appeared,  during  the 
day,  to  be  situated  on  a  small  island  detached  from  Bathurst  Island ;  but^ 
on  approaching  it  towards  evening,  we  found  them  to  be  connected  by  a 
low  sandy  beach  or  isthmus,  over  which  some  high  and  distant  hills  were 
seen  to  the  north-westward.  An  opening  in  the  land  near  this  beach,  and 
which  had  very  much  the  appearance  of  a  river,  with  some  rocky  islets  at 
its  mouth,  w£is  named  Allison  Inlet,  after  the  Greenland  master  of  the 
Hecla.  The  water  became  very  light  coloured  as  we  stood  in  towards  this 
part  of  the  coast,  and  we  tacked  in  twenty-six  fathoms,  at  six  or  seven 
miles'  distance  from  it,  continuing  to  beat  to  the  westward. 

We  gained  so  little  ground  during  the  night,  and  in  the  early  part  of  tlie 
following  morning,  notwithstanding  the  smoothness  of  the  water,  and  a  fine 


f  J,?/u'   .y/r/T?,?///,  /;-,/> w/.<^-  V/.  Yt/.  '■  / 


Wf^^.^^^^"^^^^^^^ 


C^cL^'^'i^/{^  C^i^.^'er.  /ea-yt^  ^A^^3^° /6 dP. 


"  _^iiea^  (7?'i-   ^/ja/:d^c/j't'  ^  /u/^n^z^ . 


^e&cJi^  dtl. 


Z.  Cla7'k  scu^. 


Zcndc?i,Tii6lisked  fy  LMuTi-ajy,  2tf22. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  59 

working  breeze,  that  I  am  confident  there  must  have  been  a  tide  setting 
against  us  off  Cape  Cockburn  ;  but,  as  it  was  of  material  importance  to  get 
round  this  headland,  before  a  change  of  wind  should  set  the  ice  in  upon  the 
shore,  I  did  not  deem  it  proper  to  heave-to,  for  the  purpose  of  trying  the 
direction  in  which  it  was  running.  After  three  A.M.,  the  ships  began  to 
make  much  better  way,  so  that  I  considered  it  likely  that  the  tide  had 
slackened  between  three  and  four  o'clock ;  and  if  so,  the  time  of  slack  water 
at  this  place  would  be,  on  full  and  change  days,  a  few  minutes  after  eleven : 
and  as  this  time,  with  the  proper  correction  applied,  seems  to  correspond 
pretty  accurately  with  that  of  high  water  at  the  other  places,  to  the  eastward 
and  westward,  where  we  had  an  opportunity  of  observing  it,  we  could 
scarcely  doubt  that  it  was  the  flood-tide  which  had  now  been  setting  against 
us  from  the  westward.  From  these  circumstances,  I  have  ventured  to 
mark  the  time  of  high  water,  and  the  direction  of  the  flood-tide,  upon  the 
chart,  both  being  confessedly  subject  to  correction  by  future  navigators. 
Several  seals  were  here  seen  upon  the  ice,  and  a  single  bird  with  a  long 
bill,  resembling  a  curlew. 

While  beating  round  Cape  Cockburn,  our  soundings  were  from  thirty-three 
to  twenty-one  fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  small  broken  shells  and  coral ;  and 
some  star-fish  (Asterias)  came  up  on  the  lead.  After  rounding  this  headland, 
the  wind  favoured  us  by  coming  to  the  S.S.W. ;  and  as  we  stood  on  to  the  west- 
ward, the  water  deepened  very  gradually  till  noon,  when  being  in  latitude, 
by  observation,  75°  01'  51",  and  longitude,  by  chronometers,  101°  39'  09", 
we  sounded  in  sixty-eight  fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  mud  of  a  peculiar  flesh- 
colour.  The  high  land,  which  had  been  seen  on  the  preceding  evening, 
over  the  low  beach  to  the  eastward  of  Cape  Cockburn,  now  appeared  also 
to  form  a  part  of  Bathurst  Island,  which  we  afterwards  found  to  be  the 
case,  (on  our  return  in  1820,)  the  intermediate  parts  of  the  land  being  too  low 
to  be  clearly  distinguished  at  our  present  distance.  The  land  to  the 
westward  of  Cape  Cockburn  sweeps  round  into  a  large  bay,  which  I  named 
after  Vice-Admiral  Sir  Graham  Moore. 

The  weather  was  at  this  time  remarkably  serene  and  clear,  and,  although 
we  saw  a  line  of  ice  to  the  southward  of  us,  lying  in  a  direction  nearly  east 
and  west,  or  parallel  to  the  course  on  which  we  were  steering,  and  some 
more  land  appeared  to  the  westward,  yet  the  space  of  open  water  was  still 
so  broad,  and  the  prospect  from  the  mast-head,  upon  the  whole,  so  flattering, 
that  I  thought  the   chances   of  our   separation   had  now   become   greater 


60  VOYAGE  FOE  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  than  before;  and  I  therefore  considered  it  right  to  furnish  Lieutenant  Liddon 
K^.-^J  with  fresh  instructions,  and  to  appoint  some  new  place  of  rendezvous,  in  case 
of  unavoidable  separation  from  the  Hecla.  A  boat  Avas,  therefore,  dropped 
on  board  the  Griper  for  that  purpose,  without  her  heaving-to  ;  and  the  same 
opportunity  was  taken  to  obtain  a  comparison  between  our  chronometers. 
About  seven  P.M.,  we  were  sufficiently  near  to  the  western  land,  to  ascertain 
that  it  was  part  of  another  island,  which  I  named  after  Vice-Admiral 
Sir  Thomas  Byam  Martin,  Comptroller  of  His  Majesty's  navy;  and  by  eight 
o'clock  we  perceived  that  the  body  of  ice  to  the  southward,  along  which  we 
had  been  sailing,  took  a  turn  to  the  north,  and  stretched  quite  in  to  the 
shore,  near  a  low  point,  off  which  a  great  quantity  of  heavy  ice  was  aground. 
At  ten  o'clock,  after  having  had  a  clear  view  of  the  ice  and  of  the  land  about 
sunset;  and  finding  that  there  was  at  present  no  passage  to  the  westward, 
we  hauled  off  to  the  south-east,  in  the  hope  of  finding  some  opening  in  the 
ice  to  the  southward,  by  which  we  might  get  round  in  the  desired  di- 
rection.  We  were  encouraged  in  this  hope  by  a  dark  "  water-sky"  to  the 
southward ;  but,  after  running  along  the  ice  till  half-past  eleven,  without 
perceiving  any  opening,  we  again  bore-up  to  return  towards  the  island. 
There  was  in  this  neighbourhood,  a  great  deal  of  that  particular  kind  of  ice, 
called  by  the  sailors  "  dirty  ice,"  on  the  surface  of  which  were  strewed  sand, 
stones,  and  in  some  instances,  moss ;  ice  of  this  kind  must,  of  course,  at  one 
time  or  other,  have  been  in  close  contact  with  the  land.  On  one  of  these 
pieces,  towards  which  the  Hecla  was  standing,  a  little  sea  was  observed  break- 
ing ;  and,  on  a  nearer  approach,  it  so  exactly  resembled  a  rock  above  water, 
that  I  thought  it  prudent  to  heave  all  the  sails  aback,  till  a  boat  had  been 
sent  to  examine  it.  We  saw  several  fulmar  petrels,  and  one  or  two  seals, 
in  the  course  of  this  day's  run. 
Sat.  28.  As  we  approached  the  south  point  of  the  island,  to  which  I  gave  the  name 
of  Cape  Gillman,  out  of  respect  to  the  memory  of  the  late  Sir  John  Gillman, 
we  found  the  ice  in  the  same  position  as  before ;  and  I  therefore  hauled  to 
the  north-east,  with  the  intention  of  attempting  a  passage  round  the  north 
side  of  the  island.  In  standing  in,  towards  Cape  Gillman,  our  soundings 
gradually  decreased  from  eighty  to  twenty-three  fathoms,  the  latter  depth 
occurring  at  the  distance  of  two  to  four  miles  from  the  shore.  At  ten  A.M., 
the  wind  being  very  light  from  the  S.S.E.,  I  despatched  Captain  Sabine  and 
Mr.  Ross,  accompanied  by  Messrs.  Edwards  and  Fisher,  to  the  eastern  point 
of  the  island,  which  we  were  about  to   round  in  the   ships,   in  order  to 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  61 

make  the  necessary  observations,  and  to  examine  the  natural  productions  1819. 
of  the  shore.  Our  latitude  at  noon  was  75°  03'  12",  long.  103°  44'  37",  and  J^' 
the  depth  of  water  forty  fathoms.  A  thick  fog  came  on  in  the  afternoon,  soon 
after  the  boat  had  landed,  which  made  me  apprehensive  that  she  would  not 
easily  find  her  way  back  to  the  ship.  We  continued  to  stand  ofF-and-on  by 
the  lead,  which  seems  a  very  safe  guide  on  this  coast,  firing  guns  frequently 
till  five  P.M.,  when  we  were  not  sorry  to  hear  our  signals  answered  by 
musquets  from  the  boat.  The  gentlemen  reported,  on  their  return,  that  they 
had  landed  on  a  sandy  beach,  near  the  east  point  of  the  island,  which  they 
found  to  be  more  productive,  and  altogether  more  interesting  than  any  other 
part  of  the  shores  of  the  Polar  regions  which  we  had  yet  visited.  The  remains 
of  Esquimaux  habitations  were  found  in  four  different  places.  Six  of  these, 
which  Captain  Sabine  had  an  opportunity  of  examining,  and  which  are 
situated  on  a  level  sandy  bank,  at  the  side  of  a  small  ravine  near  the  sea, 
are  described  by  him  as  consisting  of  stones  rudely  placed  in  a  circular,  or 
rather  an  elliptical,  form.  They  were  from  seven  to  ten  feet  in  diameter ;  the 
broad,  flat  sides  of  the  stones  standing  vertically,  and  the  whole  structure,  if 
such  it  may  be  called,  being  exactly  similar  to  that  of  the  summer  huts  of 
the  Esquimaux,  which  we  had  seen  at  Hare  Island,  the  preceding  year. 
Attached  to  each  of  them  was  a  smaller  circle,  generally  four  or  five  feet  in 
diameter,  which  had  probably  been  the  fire-place.  The  small  circles  were 
placed  indifferently,  as  to  their  direction  from  the  huts  to  which  they  belonged ; 
and  from  the  moss  and  sand  which  covered  some  of  the  lower  stones, 
particularly  those  which  composed  the  flooring  of  the  huts,  the  whole  en- 
campment appeared  to  have  been  deserted  for  several  years.  Very  recent 
traces  of  the  rein-deer  and  musk-ox  were  seen  in  many  places ;  and  a 
head  of  the  latter,  with  several  rein-deers'  horns,  was  brought  on  board. 
A  few  patches  of  snow  remained  in  sheltered  situations;  the  ravines,  however, 
which  were  numerous,  bore  the  signs  of  recent  and  considerable  floods,  and 
their  bottoms  were  swampy,  and  covered  with  very  luxuriant  moss,  and  other 
vegetation,  the  character  of  which  differed  very  little  from  that  of  the  land  at  the 
bottom  of  Possession  Bay.  The  basis  of  the  island  is  sandstone,  of  which  by  far 
the  greater  part  of  the  mineralogical  specimens  brought  on  board  consisted ; 
besides  these,  some  rich  granite  and  red  feldspar  were  met  with,  together 
with  some  other  substances  which  are  described  by  Mr.  Konig  in  the 
Appendix.  A  number  of  shells,  of  the  Venus  tribe,  were  found  imbedded 
in  the  bottom  of  the  ravines.     A  thermometer,  of  which  the  bulb  was  buried 


62  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    two  or  three  inches  in  the  sand,  considerably  above  high-water  mark,  indi- 
'^^^^'  cated  the  temperature  of  35|° ;  that  of  the  air,  the  sun  being  obscured  by 
clouds  at  the  time,  being  33|°, 

The  latitude  of  the  place  of  observation  was  75°  09'  23",  and  the  longitude,  by 
chronometers,  103°  44'  37".  The  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle  was  88°  25'.5S,  and 
the  variation  was  now  found  to  have  changed  from  128°  58'  West,  in  the  longitude 
of  91°  48',  where  our  last  observations  on  shore  had  been  made,  to  165°  50' 09" 
East,  at  our  present  station ;  so  that  we  had,  in  sailing  over  the  space  included  be- 
tween those  two  meridians,  crossed  immediately  to  the  northward  of  the  mag- 
netic pole,  and  had  undoubtedly  passed  over  one  of  those  spots  upon  the  globe, 
where  the  needle  would  have  been  found  to  vary  180°,  or  in  other  words, 
where  its  north  pole  would  have  pointed  due  south.  This  spot  would,  in  all 
probability,  at  this  time  be  somewhere  not  far  from  the  meridian  of  100° 
west  of  Greenwich.  It  would  undoubtedly  have  been  extremely  interesting 
to  obtain  such  an  observation,  and  in  any  other  than  the  very  precarious 
navigation  in  which  we  were  now  engaged,  I  should  have  felt  it  my 
duty  to  devote  a  certain  time  to  this  particular  purpose  ;  but,  under 
present  circumstances,  it  was  impossible  for  me  to  regret  the  cause 
which  alone  had  prevented  it,  especially  as  the  importance  to  science  of 
this  obsei-vation  was  not  sufficient  to  compensate  the  delay  which  the 
search  after  such  a  spot  would  necessarily  have  occasioned,  and  which  could 
hardly  be  justified  at  a  moment  when  we  were  making,  and  for  two 
or  three  days  continued  to  make,  a  rapid  and  unobstructed  progress  towards 
the  accomplishment  of  our  principal  object.  Captain  Sabine  remarked,  in 
obtaining  the  observations  for  the  variation,  that  the  compasses,  which  were 
those  of  Captain  Rater's  construction,  required  somewhat  more  tapping  with 
the  hand,  to  make  them  traverse,  than  they  did  at  the  place  of  observation  in 
Prince  Regent's  Inlet,  on  the  7th  of  August,  where  the  magnetic  deep  was 
'  very  nearly  the  same  ;  but  that,  when  they  had  settled,  they  indicated  the 
meridian  with  more  precision.  For  instance,  on  the  7th  of  August,  the 
compass,  when  levelled  on  its  stand,  would  traverse  of  itself;  but  if  the  bear- 
ing of  any  object  were  observed  with  it,  and  the  compass  frequently  removed 
and  replaced,  the  bearings  so  obtained  would  differ  from  each  other,  notwith- 
standing much  tapping,  to  the  amount  of  3°  or  4° ;  whereas  on  the  present 
occasion,  more  sluggishness  was  observable,  yet,  at  the  same  time,  a  closer 
agreement  in  the  successive  results. 

The  tide  was  rising   by  the  shore,  from  noon  till  half  past  four  P.M.,  at 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  63 

which  time  the  boats  left  the  beach ;  and,  by  the  high-watermark,  it  was  isig. 
considered  probable  that  it  had  yet  to  rise  full  an  hour  longer.  The  time  of  ^^^oJi^' 
high  water,  therefore,  may  be  taken  at  half  past  five,  which  will  make  that  of 
the  full  and  change  days  about  twelve  o'clock.  Mr.  Ross  found,  on  rowing 
round  the  point  near  which  he  landed,  that  the  stream  was  setting  strong 
against  him  from  the  northward.  We  had  tried  the  current  in  the  offing  at 
noon,  by  mooring  the  small  boat  to  the  bottom,  when  it  was  found  to  be  run- 
ning in  a  south  direction,  at  the  rate  of  half  a  mile  per  hour.  At  four  P.M., 
near  the  same  station,  it  was  setting  S.S.W.,  five  eighths  of  a  mile  an  hour,  so 
that  it  would  appear  tolerably  certain  that  the  flood-tide  here  comes  from  the 
northward. 

The  wind  became  very  light  from  the  eastward,  and  the  weather  continued  Sun.  '29. 
so  foggy  that  nothing  could  be  done  during  the  night  but  to  stand  ofl-and-on, 
by  the  soundings,  between  the  ice  and  the  land  ;  as  we  had  no  other  means 
of  knowing  the  direction  in  which  we  were  sailing,  than  by  the  decrease  in 
the  depth  of  water  on  one  tack,  and  by  making  the  ice  on  the  other.  The  fog 
froze  hard  upon  the  rigging,  which  always  makes  the  working  of  the  ship 
a  very  laborious  task,  the  size  of  the  running  rigging  being  sometimes  thus 
increased  to  three  times  its  proper  diameter.  At  four  A.M.  on  the  29th,  the 
current  was  tried  by  mooring  a  boat  to  the  bottom,  but  none  could  be  detected. 
About  this  time  the  fog  partially  cleared  away  for  a  little  while,  when  we  ob- 
served that  the  ice  was  more  open  off  Cape  Gillman,  than  when  we  had  before 
attempted  to  pass  in  that  direction.  At  five  o'clock,  therefore,  we  made  sail 
for  the  point,  with  a  light  easterly  breeze ;  but  at  seven,  when  we  had  pro- 
ceeded only  two  or  three  miles,  the  fog  came  on  again  as  thick  as  before  :  for- 
tunately, however,  we  had  previously  been  enabled  to  take  notice  of  several 
pieces  of  ice,  by  steering  for  each  of  which  in  succession,  we  came  to  the  edge 
of  a  floe,  along  which  our  course  was  to  be  pursued  to  the  westward.  As 
long  as  we  had  this  guidance,  we  advanced  with  great  confidence  ;  but  as  soon 
as  we  came  to  the  end  of  the  floe,  which  then  turned  off  to  the  southward,  the 
circumstances  under  which  we  were  sailing  were,  perhaps,  such  as  have  never 
occurred  since  the  early  days  of  navigation.  To  the  northward  was  the  land  ; 
the  ice,  as  we  supposed,  to  the  southward ;  the  compasses  useless  ;  and  the  sun 
completely  obscured  by  a  fog,  so  thick  that  the  Griper  could  only  now  and  then 
be  seen  at  a  cable's  length  astern.  We  had  literally,  therefore,  no  mode  of 
regulating  our  course  but  by  once  more  trusting  to  the  steadiness  of  the  wind ; 
and  it  was  not  a  little  amusing,  as  well  as  novel,  to  see  the  quarter-master 


^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  conning  the  ship  by  looking  at  the  dog-vane.  Under  all  these  circumstances, 
J^^'  it  was  necessary  to  run  under  easy  sail,  the  breeze  having  gradually  freshened 
up  from  the  eastward.  Our  soundings  were  at  this  time  extremely  regular, 
being  from  forty-one  to  forty-five  fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  soft  mud.  At  ten 
o'clock  the  weather  became  clear  enough  to  allow  us  to  see  our  way  through 
a  narrow  part  in  a  patch  of  ice  which  lay  ahead,  and  beyond  which  there  was 
some  appearance  of  a  "  water-sky."  There  is,  however,  nothing  more  deceit- 
ful than  this  appearance  during  a  fog,  which,  by  the  same  optical  illusion 
whereby  all  other  objects  become  magnified,  causes  every  small  "  hole,"  of 
clear  water  to  appear  like  a  considerable  extent  of  open  and  navigable  sea. 
We  continued  running  till  eleven  P.M.,  when  the  fog  came  on  again,  making 
the  night  so  dark  that  it  was  no  longer  possible  to  proceed  in  any  tolerable 
security;  I  therefore  directed  the  ships  to  be  made  fast  to  a  floe,  having 
sailed  by  our  account,  twelve  miles,  the  depth  of  water  being  forty-four 
fathoms. 
Mon.  30.  The  fog  continued  till  five  A.M.  on  the  30th,  when  it  cleared  sufficiently  to 
give  us  a  sight  of  the  land,  and  of  the  heavy  ice  aground  ofi^  Cape  Gillman,  the 
latter  being  five  or  six  miles  to  the  northward  of  us,  in  which  situation  we  had 
deepened  our  soundings  to  fifty  fathoms  during  the  night's  drift.  The  state  of 
the  ice,  and  of  the  weather,  not  permitting  us  to  move,  Captain  Sabine,  being 
desirous  of  making  some  use  of  this  unavoidable  detention,  and  considering  it 
at  all  times  important  to  confirm  magnetic  observations  obtained  on  shore  in 
these  high  latitudes,  by  others  taken  upon  the  ice,  employed  himself  in  repeat- 
ing his  series  of  observations  on  the  dip  of  the  needle,  which  he  found  to  be 
88°  29'.  12,  differing  only  three  minutes  and  a  half  from  that  obtained  on  shore 
on  the  28th,  a  few  leagues  to  the  northward  and  eastward  of  our  present  sta- 
tion. The  floe  to  which  the  ships  were  now  secured  was  not  more  than  six  or 
seven  feet  in  thickness,  and  was  covered  with  innumerable  pools  of  water,  most 
of  which  had  communication  with  the  sea,  as  we  could  with  difficulty  obtain  any 
that  was  sufficiently  fresh  for  drinking.  In  many  parts,  indeed,  there  were 
large  holes  through  which  the  sea  was  visible,  and  the  under  surface  was  much 
decayed  and  honey-combed,  being  nearly  in  that  state  which  the  Greenland 
sailors  call  "  rotten."  Some  of  the  officers  amused  themselves  in  skating  on 
the  pools,  all  of  which'  were  hard  frozen  on  the  surface  ;  and  the  men  in  sliding^ 
foot-ball,  and  other  games.  By  putting  some  drag-nets  and  oyster-dredges 
overboard,  and  suffering  them  to  drag  along  the  ground  as  the  ship  drifted  with 
the  ice,  we  obtained  a  few  specimens  of  marine  insects. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  65 

In  the  evening  a  quantity  of  loose  ice  drifted  down  near  the  ships  ;  and,  to    1819. 
avoid  being  beset,  we   made  sail  towards  the  island,  our  soundings  being  Jivil' 
from  thirty-five  to  seventeen  fathoms :    we  were  soon  under  the  necessity  of 
again  anchoring  to  a  floe,  till  the  weather  should  clear,  being  in  twenty-one 
fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  three  miles  from  the  land. 

The  weather  cleared  a  little  at  intervals,  but  not  enough  to  enable  us  to  pro-  Tues.  o. 
ceed  till  nine  A.M.  on  the  31st,  when  we  cast  off  from  the  ice,  with  a  very  light 
air  from  the  northward.  We  occasionally  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  land  through 
the  heavy  fog-banks,  with  which  the  horizon  was  covered,  which  was  sufficient  to 
give  us  an  idea  of  the  true  direction  in  which  we  ought  to  steer.  Soon  after 
noon  we  were  once  more  enveloped  in  fog,  which  however,  was  not  so  thick 
as  to  prevent  our  having  recourse  to  a  new  expedient  for  steering  the  ships, 
which  circumstances  at  the  time  naturally  suggested  to  our  minds.  Before 
the  fog  re-commenced,  and  while  we  were  sailing  on  the  course  which  by  the 
bearings  of  the  land  we  knew  to  be  the  right  one,  the  Griper  was  exactly 
astern  of  the  Hecla,  at  the  distance  of  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile.  The  wea- 
ther being  fortunately  not  so  thick  as  to  prevent  our  still  seeing  her  at  that 
distance,  the  quarter-master  was  directed  to  stand  aft,  near  the  taffi-ail,  and  to 
keep  her  constantly  astern  of  us,  by  which  means  we  contrived  to  steer  a 
tolerably  straight  course  to  the  westward.  The  Griper,  on  the  other  hand, 
naturally  kept  the  Hecla  right  a-head  ;  and  thus,  however  ridiculous  it  may 
appear,  it  is,  nevertheless,  true,  that  we  steered  one  ship  entirely  by  the  other 
for  a  distance  of  ten  miles  out  of  sixteen  and  a  half,  which  we  sailed  between 
one  and  eleven  P.M.  It  then  became  rather  dark,  and  the  water  having 
shoaled  from  fifty  to  twenty-three  fathoms  somewhat  more  suddenly  than  usual, 
I  did  not  consider  it  prudent  to  run  any  farther  till  it  should  become  light  and 
clear  enough  to  see  around  us,  as  it  was  probable  that  we  were  approaching 
land  of  which  we  had  no  knowledge.  We  therefore  hauled  our  wind  to  the 
S.S.E.,  on  the  larboard  tack,  and  at  midnight  had  deepened  the  water  to  fifty- 
two  fathoms,  being  among  rather  close  "  sailing  ice*." 

The  wind  died  away  on  the  morning  of  the  1st  of  September,  and  the  fog    Sept. 
was  succeeded  by  snow  and  sleet,  which  still  rendered  the  atmosphere  ex-  ^^^-  '• 
tremely   thick.     At  a  quarter  before  four  A.M.,  I  was  informed  by  the  officer 
of  the  watch  that  a  breeze  had  sprung  up,  and  that  there  was  very  little  ice 

*  The  monthly  Meteorological  Abstracts  will  be  inserted  at  the  end  of  each  month,  as 
being  more  convenient  for  reference  than  if  placed  in  a  continued  series  iu  the  Appendix. 

K 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His 

Majesty's  Ship   Hecla,  at  Sea, 

d 

uring  the  Month  o(  August,  1819. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Sea  Water  at  the 
surface. 

j          Barometer. 

1 

1 
Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailiiig  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mitii- 

Mean. 

Tempe- 

Specific 
Gravity 

Tempera 
weighed. 

Maxi- 
mum. 

Mini- 

Mean. 

1 

o 
36 

+ 
o 
33.5 

+ 
O 

34.50 

+ 
o 
32.6 

1.0215 

55.5 

inches. 
29.60 

inche3.     inches. 
29.51    29.540 

West 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

2 

41 

33 

37.00 

34.2 

1.0255 

52 

29.73 

29.59 

29.660 

fN.E.bE.roundby  \ 
I    South  to  West    ( 
5   A.M.  S.WbW.    ) 
I      P.M.  East.      5 

From  fresh  breezes  to  calms.  Fine  weather. 

3 

38 

33 

35.58 

33.2 

1.0217 

55 

29.70 

29.50 

29.632 

Moderate  breezes  and  hazy. 

4 

37.5 

33.5 

35.29 

32.8 

1.0218 

55 

29.51 

29.45 

29.481 

East 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy. 

5 

35 

33.5 

34.25 

31.7 

29.51 

29.48 

29.496 

N.W. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

6 

35 

33 

33.83 

31.8 

1.0232 

59 

29.50 

29.51 

29.530 

North 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

7 

30 

31 

33.83 

31.6 

1.0248 

58 

29.60 

29.53 

29.5G2 

North 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

8 

35 

30 

32.62 

31.5 

1.0236 

38 

29.65 

29.59 

29.622 

N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

9 

39.5 

30.5 

33.92 

30.9 

1.0255 

50 

29.07 

29.62 

29.650 

N.W.bW.toS.S.W. 

Ditto. 

10 

36 

31 

33.00 

31.2 

1.0246 

56 

29.55 

29.52 

29.540 

S.bW. 

i  Moderate  breezesand  hazy,  with  rain  and  snow. 

11 

35 

33 

33.42 

31.0 

1.0214 

56 

29.60 

29.49 

29.567 

S.bW.  : 

Moderate  and  foggy,  with  continued  rain. 

12 

35 

30 

32.58 

31.4 

1.02J0 

55 

29.85 

29.80 

29.820 

N.bE. 

Moderate  and  foggy,  with  rain  at  intervals. 

13 

40 

30 

3G.88 

32.2 

1.0237 

51 

29.80 

29.72 

29.810 

S.W. 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

14 

42 

34 

30.75 

32.7 

1.0239 

55 

29.76 

29.ei 

29.717 

N.N.W.  to  S.S.W. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

15 

39 

32 

35.21 

33.1 

1.0236 

55 

29.63 

29.61 

29.620 

S.  Westerly. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

16 

36 

33 

34.00 

32.8 

1.0242 

55 

29.68 

29.61 

29.642 

5  S.S.E.  round  by  > 
I    S.  to  W.N.W.    5 

Light  airs  and  hazy ;  calm  at  times. 

17 

35 

32 

33.42 

32.6 

1.0242 

55 

29.66 

29.63 

29.652 

S.W. 

Light  airs  and  foggy  weather. 

18 

36 

32.5 

33.67 

32.5 

1.0236 

55 

29.64 

29.60 

29.625 

5  A.M.  S.W.bW.   ? 
t   P.M.  N.E.bE.    1 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

19 

33 

32 

32.83 

32.8 

1.0233 

57 

;29.55 

29.53 

29542 

E.bN. 

Sttongbreezei  &  hazy,  with  rain,  hail,  &  sleet. 

20 

36 

33 

34.86 

32.6 

1.0233 

57 

29.63 

29.57 

29.610 

E.bN. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy  weather. 

21 

36 

33 

34.79 

32.5 

1.018S 

58 

29.66 

29.62 

29.650 

Round  the  compass. 

Ditto 

22 

38 

33 

35.62 

33.2 

1.0235 

54 

29.76 

29.67 

29.729 

Ditto. 

Light  variable  airs— A.M.  hazy,  P.M.  clear. 

23 

36 

32 

33.75 

31.5 

1.0247 

54 

29.76 

29.66 

29.712 

North 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

24 

30 

28 

29.50 

30.1 

1.0246 

54 

29.66 

29.61 

29.634 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

25 
26 

27 
28 

32 
35 
34 
34 

30 
30 
30.5 
30 

30.54 
31.92 
32.58 
32.00 

30.2 
30.4 
30.9 
31.8 

29.87 
30.06 
29.96 
29.70 

29.64 
29.95 
29.80 
29.60 

29.757 
30.012 
29.900 
29.657 

N.W. 

N.W.b.W. 

S.S.W. 

S.S.E.  to  N.E. 

Ditto. 

Ditto. 
Light  breezes  and  fine  clear  weather. 
Light  breezes  and  foggy. 
Light  airs  and  foggy. 
Fresh  breezes  and  foggy. 
Light  airs,  with  sleet  and  snow. 

29 
30 
31 

32 
34 
34 

31 
30 
31 

31.75 

32.08 
32.21 

31.7 
31.1 
31.4 

29.57 
29.36 
29.59 

29.40 
29.31 
29.39 

29.482 
29.332 
29.510 

S.E. 

N.E. 

5  N.W.  round  by  ) 
I    North  to  East    J 

42 

28 

33,67 

31.93 

30.06 

29.31 

29.635 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  Gf 

near  the  ships.  Anxious  to  take  advantage  of  these  favourable  circumstances, 
I  directed  all  sail  to  be  made  to  the  westward :  there  was  no  difficulty  in  com- 
plying with  the  first  part  of  this  order,  but  to  ascertain  which  way  the  wind 
was  blowing,  and  to  which  quarter  of  the  horizon  the  ship's  head  was  to  be 
directed,  was  a  matter  of  no  such  easy  accomplishment ;  nor  could  we  devise 
any  means  of  determining  this  question  till  five  o'clock,  when  we  obtained  a 
sight  of  the  sun  through  the  fog,  and  were  thus  enabled  to  shape  our  course, 
the  wind  being  moderate  from  the  northward. 

In  standing  to  the  southward,  we  had  gradually  deepened  the  water  to  one 
hundred  and  five  fathoms,  and  our  soundings  now  as  gradually  decreased  as 
we  stood  to  the  westward  ;  giving  us  reason  to  believe,  as  on  the  preceding 
night,  and  from  the  experience  we  had  acquired  of  the  navigation  among 
these  islands,  that  we  were  approaching  land  in  that  direction.  In  this  sup- 
position we  were  not  deceived,  for,  at  half-past  eight,  the  fog  having  sud- 
denly cleared  up,  we  found  ourselves  within  four  or  five  miles  of  a  low  point 
of  land  which  was  named  after  Mr.  Griffiths,  and  which,  being  at  the 
distance  of  six  or  seven  leagues  from  Byam  Martin  Island,  we  considered  to 
be  part  of  another  of  the  same  group.  We  sailed  along  the  shore  at  the 
distance  of  two  to  four  miles  in  a  S.W.b.W.  direction,  and  having  dropped  a 
boat  to  obtain  observations  upon  the  ice,  without  heaving-to  for  that  purpose, 
we  found  ourselves  to  be,  at  noon,  in  latitude  74°  59'  35",  and  longitude, 
by  chronometers,  106°  07  36".  This  land  very  much  resembled,  in  height 
and  general  character,  the  other  islands  which  we  had  lately  passed,  being  in 
most  parts  of  a  brownish  colour,  among  which  we  also  imagined  a  little  green 
to  be  here  and  there  discernible.  We  had  some  small  rain  in  the  afternoon, 
which  was  succeeded  by  snow  towards  midnight. 

At  one  A.M.  on  the  2d,  a  star  was  seen,  being  the  first  that  had  been  ihurs.  2. 
visible  to  us  for  more  than  two  months.  The  fog  came  on  again  this  morning, 
which,  together  with  the  lightness  of  the  wind  preventing  the  ships  getting 
sufficient  way  to  keep  them  under  command,  occasioned  them  some  of  the 
heaviest  blows  which  they  had  yet  received  during  the  voyage,  although  the 
ice  was  generally  so  loose  and  broken  as  to  have  allowed  an  easy  passage 
with  a  moderate  and  leading  wind.  As  none  of  the  pieces  near  us  were  large 
enough  for  securing  the  ships  in  the  usual  manner,  we  could  only  heave-to, 
to  windward  of  one  of  the  heaviest  masses,  and  allow  the  ship  to  drive  Avith 
it  till  some  favourable  change  should  take  place.  After  lying  for  an  hour  in 
this  inactive   and  helpless  situation,  we  again  made  sail,  the  weather  being 


68  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

rather  more  clear,  which  discovered  to  us  that  the  main  body  of  the  ice  wass 
about  three  miles  distant  from  the  land,  the  intermediate  space  being  very 
thickly  covered  with  loose  pieces  through  which  our  passage  was  to  be 
sought.  As  we  stood  in  for  the  land  in  the  forenoon,  we  decreased  our 
soundings  uniformly  from  twenty-seven  to  eleven  fathoms  at  one  and  a  half  or 
two  miles  from  the  beach,  and  a  boat,  which  I  sent  to  sound  in-shore,  found 
the  water  to  shoal  very  regularly  to  six  fathoms  at  about  half  a  mile.  At 
this  distance  from  the  beach,  there  were  many  large  masses  of  ice  aground ; 
and  it  was  here  that  the  method  so  often  resorted  to  in  the  subsequent  part 
of  the  voyage,  of  placing  the  ships  between  these  masses  and  the  land,  in 
case  of  the  ice  closing  suddenly  upon  us,  first  suggested  itself  to  our  minds. 

As  we  were  making  no  way  to  the  westward,  I  directed  two  boats  to  be  pre- 
pared from  each  ship  for  the  purpose  of  making  the  usual  observations  on 
shore,  as  well  as  to  endeavour  to  kill  deer;  and,  at  one  P.M.,  I  left  the  ship, 
accompanied  by  a  large  party  of  officers  and  men,  and  was  soon  after  joined 
by  the  Griper's  boats.  We  landed  on  a  very  flat  sandy  beach,  which  did  not 
allow  the  boats  to  come  nearer  than  their  own  length,  and  we  were  imme- 
diately struck  with  the  general  resemblance  in  the  character  of  this  island  to 
that  of  Byam  Martin  Island,  which  we  had  lately  visited.  The  basis  of  this 
land  is  sandstone,  but  we  met  with  limestone  also,  occurring  in  loose  pieces  on 
the  surface,  and  several  lumps  of  coal  were  brought  in  by  the  parties  Avho  had 
traversed  the  island  in  diiferent  directions.  Our  sportsmen  were  by  no  means 
successful,  having  seen  only  two  deer,  which  were  too  wild  to  allow  them  to 
get  near  them.  The  dung  of  these  animals,  however,  as  well  as  that  of  the 
musk-ox  was  very  abundant,  especially  in  those  places  where  the  moss  was 
most  luxuriant ;  every  here  and  there  we  came  to  a  spot  of  this  kind, 
consisting  of  one  or  two  acres  of  ground  covered  with  a  rich  vegetation,  and 
which  was  evidently  the  feeding-place  of  those  animals,  there  being  quantities 
of  their  hair  and  wool  lying  scattered  about.  Several  heads  of  the  musk- 
ox  were  picked  up,  and  one  of  the  Hecla's  seamen  brought  to  the  boat  a 
narwhal's  horn  which  he  found  on  a  hill  more  than  a  mile  from  the 
sea,  and  which  must  have  been  carried  thither  by  Esquimaux  or  by  bears : 
three  or  four  brace  of  ptarmigan  fTetrao  Lagopus,J  were  killed,  and  these 
were  the  only  supply  of  this  kind  which  we  obtained.  Serjeant  Martin 
of  the  artillery,  and  Captain  Sabine's  servant,  brought  down  to  the  beach 
several  pieces  of  a  large  fir-tree,  which  they  found  nearly  buried  in  the  sand, 
at  the  distance  of  three  or  four  hundred  yards  from  the  present  high-water 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  69 

mark,  and  not  less  than  thirty  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea.  We  found  no  I8i9. 
indication  of  this  part  of  the  island  having  been  inhabited,  unless  the  ^"^^ 
narwhal's  horn,  above  alluded  to,  be  considered  as  such. 

The  latitude  of  the  place  of  observation  here,  which  was  within  a 
hundred  yards  of  the  beach,  was  74°  58',  the  longitude,  by  chronometers, 
107°  03'  31".7,  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  151°  30'  03"  eas- 
terly. At  forty  minutes  past  one  P.M.,  when  the  boats  landed,  the  tide 
had  fallen  a  foot  by  the  shore.  It  continued  to  fall  till  seven  P.M.,  and 
then  rose  again,  the  whole  fall  of  tide  not  exceeding  five  or  five  and  a  half 
feet.  At  the  time  we  landed.  Lieutenant  Beechey  tried  for  a  current  in  the 
offing,  but  could  find  none  ;  at  half-past  seven,  the  tide  was  setting  E.N.E.,  at 
the  rate  of  a  mile  and  a  half  an  hour  ;  and,  at  a  quarter  before  ten,  after  1 
returned  on  board,  it  was  still  setting  slowly  to  the  eastward.  By  the 
above  observations,  the  time  of  high  water,  at  the  full  and  change  of  the 
moon,  seems  to  be  about  three  quarters  after  one  o'clock.  The  direction  of 
the  flood-tide  does  not  appear  so  clear.  If  it  come  from  the  westward,  there 
must  be  a  tide  and  half  tide ;  but  it  seems  more  than  probable,  on  an  in- 
spection of  the  chart,  that  here,  as  on  the  eastern  sideof  Byam  Martin  Island, 
it  will  be  found  to  come  from  the  northward  between  the  islands.  At  the 
top  of  a  hill,  immediately  above  the  place  of  observation,  and  about  a  mile 
from  the  sea,  a  bottle  was  buried,  containing  the  usual  information.  A  mound 
of  sand  and  stones  was  raised  over  it,  and  a  boarding-pike  fixed  in  the  middle. 
We  returned  on  board  at  half  past  eight,  and  found  that  Lieutenant  Beechey 
had,  in  the  mean  time,  taken  a  number  of  useful  soundings,  and  made  other 
hydrographical  remarks  for  carrying  on  the  survey  of  the  coast. 

The  wind  continued  light  and  variable  till  half-past  eight  A.M.  on  the  3d,  Fiwl.  3. 
when  a  breeze  from  the  northward  once  more  enabled  us  to  make  some 
progress.  I  was  the  more  anxious  to  do  so,  from  having  perceived  that  the 
main  ice  had,  for  the  last  twenty-four  hours,  been  gradually,  though  slowly, 
closing  on  the  shore,  thereby  contracting  the  scarcely  navigable  channel  in 
which  we  were  sailing.  The  land  which  formed  our  western  extreme  was  a 
low  point,  five  miles  to  the  westward  of  our  place  of  observation  the  preceding 
day,  and  the  ice  had  already  approached  this  point  so  much,  that  there  was 
considerable  doubt  whether  any  passage  could  be  found  between  them.  As  wc 
neared  the  point,  we  shoaled  the  water  rather  quickly,  though  regularly,  from 
thirty  to  seven  fathoms  ;  but,  by  keeping  a  little  farther  out,  which  fortunately 
the  ice  just  at  that  time   allowed  us  to  do,  we  avoided  getting  into  shoaler 


70  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

water,  and  immediately  after  rounding  the  point,  we  increased  our  soundings 
to  sixteen  and  seventeen  fathoms.  We  had  scarcely  cleared  the  point,  how- 
ever, when  the  wind  failed  us,  and  the  boats  were  immediately  sent  a-head 
to  tow,  but  a  breeze  springing  up  shortly  after  from  the  westward,  obliged 
us  to  have  recourse  to  another  method  of  gaining  ground  which  we  had  not 
hitherto  practised :  this  was  by  using  small  anchors  and  whale-lines  as  warps, 
by  which  means  Ave  made  great  progress,  till,  at  forty  minutes  after  noon, 
we  were  favoured  by  a  fresh  breeze,  which  soon  took  us  into  an  open  space 
of  clear  water  to  the  northward  and  westward.  While  we  were  thus  em- 
ployed on  board,  Mr.  Ross,  after  whom  I  named  this  point,  had  been  des- 
patched in  a  boat  to  sound  in-shore  near  it,  where  there  were  a  great  many 
large  masses  of  ice  aground,  in  order  that  we  might  be  prepared  to  place  the 
ships  in  the  most  advantageous  position,  should  the  ice  unexpectedly  close 
upon  the  shore,  Mr.  Ross  reported,  that  he  had  found  good  depth  of  water 
in-shore,  the  ice  being  aground  in  five  to  seven  fathoms,  after  which  the  water 
shoaled  gradually  towards  the  land.  A  little  to  the  westward  of  Point  Ross, 
there  was  a  barrier  of  this  kind  of  ice,  composed  of  heavy  masses  firmly  fixed 
to  the  ground  at  nearly  regular  intervals  for  about  a  mile,  in  a  direction 
parallel  to  the  beach.  At  right  angles  to  this,  a  second  tier  projected,  of  the 
same  kind  of  ice,  extending  to  the  shore,  so  that  the  two  together  formed  a 
most  complete  harbour,  within  which,  I  believe,  a  ship  might  have  been 
placed  in  case  of  necessity,  without  much  danger  from  the  pressure  of  the 
external  floes  of  ice.  It  was  natural  for  us  to  keep  in  view  the  possibility  of 
our  being  obliged  to  pass  the  ensuing  winter  in  such  a  harbour ;  and,  it  must 
be  confessed,  that  the  apparent  practicability  of  finding  such  tolerable  security 
for  the  ships  as  this  artificial  harbour  affbrded,  should  we  fail  in  discovering  a 
more  safe  and  regular  anchorage,  added  not  a  little  to  the  confidence  with 
which  our  operations  were  carried  on  during  the  remainder  of  the  present 
season. 

The  land  immediately  to  the  north-westward  of  Point  Ross  forms  a 
considerable  bay,  named  after  Mr.  Skene,  off  which  there  was  a  large 
space  of  clear  water,  where  we  had  to  beat  to  the  northward  during  the 
afternoon,  as  the  ice  lay  in  that  direction.  In  standing  off-and-on,  we 
shoaled  the  water  in  one  place  very  suddenly  from  nineteen  to  eleven 
fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  one  mile  from  the  beach.  Having  tacked,  I 
sent  Mr.  Bushnan  to  sound  in-shore,  where  a  shoal  was  discovered  three 
quarters  of  a  mile  from  the  land,  having  three  and  four  fathoms  upon  it,  and 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  71 

within  it  from  eight  to  thirteen  fathoms.  The  sun-set  of  this  evening  was 
extremely  beautiful,  the  weather  being  clear  and  frosty,  and  the  sky 
without  a  cloud.  The  moon  rising  soon  after,  afforded  a  spectacle  no  less 
pleasing,  and  far  more  sublime.  Her  horizontal  diameter  appeared  to  be 
very  much  elongated  when  just  above  the  horizon,  owing  to  the  unequal 
refraction  of  the  upper  and  lower  limbs ;  but  it  measured  33'  20",  being 
only  6"  more  than  the  true,  which  difference  may  have  arisen  from  an  error 
in  the  observation.     The  vertical  diameter  measured  30'  40' . 

Having  weathered  all  the  ice  round  which  we  had  to  sail,  in  order  to  pro-  Sat.  4. 
ceed  to  the  westward,  we  were  under  the  necessity  of  lying-to,  off  Skene  Bay, 
for  some  hours,  the  weather  having  become  very  squally  and  unsettled,  with 
occasional  fog,  and  the  night  not  being  sufficiently  light  to  ascertain  whether 
there  was  a  passage  between  the  ice  and  a  point  of  land  which  forms  the 
western  extreme  of  the  bay.  On  its  eastern  side  an  inlet,  two  miles  wide  . 
at  the  entrance,  was  discovered,  and  named  after  Mr.  Beverly,  and  at  the 
bottom  of  this  we  did  not  see  the  land  all  round.  At  half-past  two  A.M.,  we 
made  sail  to  the  westward,  the  Griper  having  been  directed  by  signal  to 
extend  her  distance ;  a  precaution  which  was  always  adopted  in  cases 
where  shoal-water  was  to  be  apprehended,  in  order  to  avoid  the  risk  of  both 
ships  grounding  at  the  same  time.  As  we  approached  the  point,  the  sound- 
ings decreased  gradually  from  thirty  to  seven  fathoms,  in  which  depth  I 
tacked,  and  despatched  Mr.  Palmer  in  a  boat  to  sound  round  the  point,  to 
which  I  gave  the  name  of  Cape  Palmer,  after  the  gentleman  intrusted 
with  this  service.  Having  been  informed  by  signal  from  the  boat,  that  no 
less  than  six  fathoms'  water  had  been  found,  we  again  tacked,  and  soon  after 
rounded  the  point  in  that  depth,  at  the  distance  of  three  quarters  of  a 
mile  from  a  low  sandy  beach.  We  then  ran  several  miles  along  the  shore 
without  much  obstruction,  till  the  wind,  backing  to  the  north-west,  obliged 
us  to  make  several  tacks  between  the  ice  and  the  land,  the  navigable  channel 
being  at  this  time  between  three  and  four  miles  wide.  At  noon  we  observed,  in 
latitude  74°  54'  49 ",  the  longitude,  by  chronometers,  being  108°  31'  44",  at  which 
time  we  were  off  a  low,  sandy  island,  which  was  named  after  Mr.  Dealy,  and 
which  lies  near  the  entrance  into  a  large  inlet,  to  which  the  name  of  Bridport 
Inlet  was  given,  from  regard  to  the  memory  of  the  late  Lord  Bridport.  This 
inlet  runs  a  considerable  distance  to  the  northward,  and  seemed  to  afford  good 
shelter  for  ships ;  but,  as  we  had  no  opportunity  of  examining  it  in  our 
boats,  I  am  unable  to  state  any  further  particulars  respecting  it.  The  land  to  the 


"^2  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

^819.  westward  of  it,  of  which  the  most  conspicuous  part  is  a  remarkable  bluff  head- 
v^^^.  land,  is  much  higher  than  that  about  Skene  Bay;  and  we  ceased  to  obtain  any 
soundings  with  the  hand-leads  after  we  had  passed  the  entrance  of  Bridport 
Inlet.  At  a  quarter-past  nine  P.M.,  we  had  the  satisfaction  of  crossing  the 
meridian  of  110°  west  from  Greenwich,  in  the  latitude  of  74°  44'  20";  by 
which  His  Majesty's  ships,  under  my  orders,  became  entitled  to  the  sum  of 
five  thousand  pounds,  being  the  reward  offered  by  the  King's  order  in  coun- 
cil, grounded  on  a  late  Act  of  Parliament,  to  such  of  His  Majesty's  subjects 
as  might  succeed  in  penetrating  thus  far  to  the  westward  within  the  Arctic 
Circle.  In  order  to  commemorate  the  success  which  had  hitherto  attended 
our  exertions,  the  bluff  headland,  which  we  had  just  passed,  was  subsequently 
called  by  the  men  Bounty  Cape  ;  by  which  name  I  have,  therefore,  distin- 
guished it  on  the  chart. 

As  we  stood  to  the  westward,  we  found  the  extreme  of  the  land  in  that 
direction  to  be  a  low  point,  which  was  named  after  Samuel  Hearne,  the 
well-known  American  traveller,  and  to  the  north-eastward  of  which   is   a 
bay  of  considerable   extent,  which   was  perfectly  free  from  ice.     We  con- 
tinued our  course  towards  Cape  Hearne  till  midnight,  when,  the  weather 
being  too  dark  to  run  any  longer  with  safety,  the  ships  were  hove-to  with  their 
heads  to  the  eastward.     One  black  whale  was  seen^  in  the  course  of  this 
day's  navigation,  off  Bridport  Inlet ;  and  some  flocks  of  snow-buntings  were 
flying  about  the  ship  at  night. 
Sun.  5.       At  a  quarter  before  three  A.M.,  on  the  5th,  we  tacked,  and  stood  to  the 
westward,   with  the  hope  of  getting  past  Cape    Hearne,  the   wind  being 
moderate    from   the    northward,    and   the   weather   thick    with   snow;  and, 
shortly  after,  we  shoaled  the  water  quickly  from  twenty-five  to  thirteen,  and 
then  to  nine,  fathoms.     We  tacked  in  the  latter  depth,  believing  that  we  were 
approaching  a   shoal,  especially  as  we  were  near  some  heavy   ice,  which, 
having  a  tide-mark  upon  it,  appeared  to  be  aground.     We  afterwards  found, 
however,  that  we  had  at  this  time  been  actually  within  three  or  four  hundred 
yards  of  Cape   Hearne,  which  is  so  surrounded  by  heavy  ice  at  a  sufficient 
distance  from  the  shore,  that  it  would  perhaps  be  difficult  to  run  a  ship 
aground  upon  it.     The  error  into  which  we  were  here  led,  as  to  our  distance 
from  the  beach,  arose  from  the   extreme  difficulty  of  distinguishing,  even  in 
broad  day-light,  between  the  ice  and  the  land,  when  the  latter  is  low  and 
shelving,  and  completely  covered  with  snow ;  by  the  uniform  whiteness  of 
which,  they  are  so  completely  blended,  as  to  deceive  the  best  eye.     Indeed, 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  ■  73 

I  know  no  circumstance  in  the  navigation  of  these  seas  which  renders  more    1819 
necessary  a  vigilant  look-out,  and  a  careful  attention  to  the  hand-leads  than  -..J^ 
the  deception  to  which  I  here  allude. 

Having  stood  again  to  the  westward,  to  take  a  nearer  view  of  the  ice,  we 
perceived  that  it  lay  quite  close  in  with  Cape  Hearne,  notwithstanding  the 
fresh  northerly  wind  which,  for  the  last  thirty-six  hours,  had  been  blowing 
from  the  shore,  and  which  had  drifted  the  ice  some  distance  to  the  south- 
ward, in  every  other  part  of  the  coast  along  which  we  had  lately  been  sailing. 
This  circumstance  struck  us  very  forcibly  at  the  time,  as  an  extraordinary 
one ;  and  it  was  a  general  remark  among  us,  that  the  ice  must  either  be 
aground  in  shoal-water,  or  that  it  butted  against  something  to  the  southward, 
which  prevented  its  moving  in  that  direction.  Appearances  being  thus  dis- 
couraging, nothing  remained  to  be  done  but  to  stand  off-and-on  near  the  point, 
and  carefully  to  watch  for  any  opening  that  might  occur. 

After  divine  service  had  been  performed,  I  assembled  the  officers,  seamen, 
and  marines  of  the  Hecia,  and  announced  to  them  officially,  that  their 
exertions  had  so  far  been  crowned  with  success,  as  to  entitle  them  to  the  first 
prize  in  the  scale  of  rewards,  granted  by  His  Majesty's  order  in  council  above- 
mentioned.  I  took  this  opportunity  of  impressing  upon  the  minds  of  the  men 
the  necessity  of  the  most  strenuous  exertions  during  the  short  remainder 
of  the  present  season ;  assuring  them  that,  if  we  could  penetrate  a  few  de- 
grees farther  to  the  westward,  before  the  ships  were  laid  up  for  the  winter, 
I  had  little  doubt  of  our  accomplishing  the  object  of  our  enterprise  before  the 
close  of  the  next  season.  I  also  addressed  a  letter  to  Lieutenant  Liddon, 
to  the  same  effect,  and  directed  a  small  addition  to  be  made  to  the  usual 
allowance  of  meat,  and  some  beer  to  be  served,  as  a  Sunday's  dinner,  on  this 
occasion. 

The  wind  increasing  to  a  fresh  gale  from  the  northward  in  the  afternoon, 
and  the  ice  still  continuing  to  oppose  an  impenetrable  barrier  to  our  further 
progress,  I  determined  to  beat  up  to  the  northern  shore  of  the  bay,  and, 
if  a  tolerable  roadstead  could  be  found,  to  drop  our  anchors  till  some  change 
should  take  place.  This  was  accordingly  done  at  three  P.M.,  in  seven  fathoms' 
water,  the  bottom  being  excellent  holding-ground,  composed  of  mud  and  sand, 
from  which  the  lead  could  with  difficulty  be  extricated.  When  we  veered 
to  half  a  cable,  we  had  ten  fathoms'  water  under  the  Hecla's  stern,  our 
distance  from  the  northern  shore  being  about  a  mile  and  a  half  This 
roadstead,   which  I  called  the  Bav  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  affords  very 

I, 


74  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    secure  shelter  with  the  wind  from  E.N.E.,  round  by  north,  to  S.W.,  and  we 
J,rS^  found  it  more  free  from  ice  than  any  other  part  of  the  southern  coast  of  the 
island. 

I  had  great  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  our  having  anchored  the  ships,  as 
the  wind  shortly  after  blew  a  hard  gale  from  the  northward.  In  the  evening 
I  sent  Captain  Sabine  and  Messrs.  Edwards  and  Nias  on  shore  to  examine  the 
country,  and  to  collect  specimens  of  its  natural  productions ;  they  returned  at 
ten  P.M.,  having  landed  on  a  low  point  a  little  to  the  westward  of  the  ships, 
which  they  found  to  be  a  very  barren  and  unproductive  spot ;  several  flocks 
of  ducks  were  seen,  and  some  glaucous  gulls  and  tern ;  the  dung  and  foot- 
tracks  of  the  deer  and  musk-ox  were  also  observed  in  many  places  ;  and  some 
addition  was  made  by  our  gentlemen  to  our  collection  of  marine  insects.  The 
rocks  are  composed  entirely  of  sandstone,  but  a  few  small  pieces  of  granite, 
flint,  and  coal,  were  also  among  the  specimens  brought  on  board.  This 
island,  on  which  our  boats  had  now  landed  for  the  second  time,  and  Avhich  is 
much  the  largest  of  the  group  we  had  lately  discovered,  I  honoured  with  the 
name  of  Melville  Island,  after  Viscount  Melville,  the  First  Lord  of  the 
Admiralty. 

The  bay  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper  was  the  first  spot  where  we  had  dropped 
anchor  since  leaving  the  coast  of  Norfolk  ;  a  circumstance  which  was  rendered 
the  more  striking  to  us  at  the  moment,  as  it  appeared  to  mark,  in  a  very  de- 
cided manner,  the  completion  of  one  stage  of  our  voyage.  The  ensigns  and 
pendants  were  hoisted  as  soon  as  we  had  anchored,  and  it  created  in  us  no 
ordinary  feelings  of  pleasure  to  see  the  British  flag  waving,  for  the  first  time, 
in  these  regions,  which  had  hitherto  been  considered  beyond  the  limits  of  the 
habitable  part  of  the  world. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  75 


CHAPTER  IV. 


FURTHER    EXAMINATION  OF  MELVILLE  ISLAND CONTINUATION  OF  OUR  PRO- 
GRESS TO  THE  WESTWARD LONG  DETENTION    BY     THE  ICE  —  PARTY    SENT 

ON  SHORE  TO  HUNT  DEER  AND  MUSK-OXEN RETURN  IN  THREE  DAYS,  AFTER 

LOSING  THEIR  WAY — ANXIETY  ON  THEIR  ACCOUNT — PROCEED  TO  THE 
WESTWARD,  TILL  FINALLY  STOPPED  BY  THE  ICE — IN  RETURNING  TO  THE 
EASTWARD  THE  GRIPER  FORCED  ON  THE  BEACH  BY  THE  ICE — SEARCH  FOR, 
AND  DISCOVERY  OF,  A  WINTER  HARBOUR  ON  MELVILLE  ISLAND — OPERA- 
TIONS   FOR    SECURING    THE    SHIPS    IN    THEIR    WINTER    QUARTERS. 

As  the  wind  still  continued  to  blow  strong  from  the  northward  on  the  morn- 
ing of  the  6th,  without  any  appearance  of  opening  a  passage  for  us  past  Cape 
Hearne,  I  took  the  opportunity  of  sending  all  our  boats  from  both  ships  at 
eight  A.M.,  to  bring  on  board  a  quantity  of  moss-peat  which  our  gentlemen 
reported  having  found  near  a  small  lake  at  no  great  distance  from  the  sea, 
and  which  I  directed  to  be  substituted  for  part  of  our  usual  allowance  of 
coals.  Captain  Sabine  also  went  on  shore  to  make  the  requisite  observations, 
and  several  of  the  officers  of  both  ships  to  sport,  and  to  collect  specimens  of 
natural  history.  The  boats  rowed  round  the  point  on  which  they  had  landed 
the  preceding  evening,  and  which  Captain  Sabine  now  selected  as  the  most 
convenient  place  of  observation ;  and  discovered  just  beyond  it  to  the  north- 
ward, a  small  harbour,  having  a  bar  at  its  entrance,  upon  which  Mr.  Fife, 
the  Greenland  master  of  the  Griper,  after  whom  the  harbour  was  named, 
found  ten  feet  water  at  nearly  low  tide. 

The  latitude  of  the  point  is  74°  46'  56",  and  its  longitude,  by  our  chrono- 
meters, 110°  33'  59".  The  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle  was  found  to  be 
88°  29'.91,  and  the  variation  126°  17'  18"  Easterly.      It  was  low  water  by  the 


Mon. 


76  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  shore  at  half-past  nine,  and  it  had  risen  between  two  and  three  feet  when 
,..,!^  the  boats  came  away  at  half-past  twelve.  During  this  time  the  ships  were 
tending  to  a  tide  coming  strong  from  the  eastward  ;  from  which  direction  it  is 
therefore  probable,  that  the  flood-tide  runs  on  this  part  of  the  coast,  though 
we  had  no  satisfactory  opportunity  of  trying  its  true  set  in  the  offing.  Near 
the  point  where  the  observations  were  made,  a  bottle  was  buried,  containing 
a  paper  as  usual,  and  a  pile  of  stones  raised  over  it.  The  weather  was  this 
day  unusually  cold  to  the  feelings,  to  a  greater  degree  even  than  might  have 
been  expected  from  the  indication  of  the  thermometer,  which,  for  the  first 
time,  had  been  as  low  as  25°. 

The  wind  beginning  to  moderate  soon  after  noon,  and  there  being  at  length 
some  appearance  of  motion  in  the  ice  near  Cape  Hearne,  the  boats  were  im- 
mediately recalled  from  the  shore,  and  returned  at  two  P.M.,  bringing  some 
peat,  which  was  found  to  burn  tolerably,  but  a  smaller  quantity  than  I  had 
hoped  to  procure,  owing  to  a  misunderstanding  as  to  the  distance  at  which 
it  was  to  be  found  from  the  sea.  At  half-past  tAvo,  as  soon  as  the  ship's 
company  had  dined,  we  began  to  heave  at  the  cable,  but  so  excellent  is  the 
holding-ground,  that  it  required  all  the  purchase  as  well  as  strength  we  could 
apply,  to  start  the  anchor  by  half-past  four.  We  then  made  sail  for  Cape 
Hearne,  which  we  rounded  at  six  o'clock,  having  no  soundings  with  from 
seventeen  to  twenty  fathoms  of  line,  at  the  distance  of  a  mile  and  a  quarter 
from  the  point.  The  extreme  of  the  land  which  now  appeared  to  the  west- 
ward bore  about  S.W.b.W.,  and  there  was  a  sufficient  space  of  clear  water 
along  the  shore  to  allow  us  to  steer  for  it.  It  was  impossible,  however,  not 
to  remark  to  how  short  a  distance  from  the  shore,  not  exceeding  three  or  four 
miles,  the  ice  had  been  drifted  by  the  late  strong  gales.  We  had  observed, 
however,  that  in  rounding  Cape  Hearne  this  evening,  the  wind  had  drawn 
gradually  to  the  eastward  as  we  proceeded,  taking  nearly  the  direction  of 
the  shore,  and  we  were  willing  to  hope  that  it  had  been  blowing  from  the 
same  quarter,  while  we  were  lying  at  anchor  in  the  bay  ;  in  which  case  it 
was  not  necessary  to  suppose  any  such  serious  obstruction  to  the  southward 
as  that  to  which  we  had  at  first  been  inclined  to  attribute  these  unfavourable 
appearances. 

I  was  beginning  once  more  to  indulge  in  those  flattering  hopes,  of  which 
often-repeated  disappointments  cannot  altogether  deprive  us,  when  I  per- 
ceived, from  the  crow's  nest,  a  compact  body  of  ice,  extending  completely 
in  to  the  shore  near  the  point  which  formed  the  western  extreme.     We  ran 


J 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  77 


1819. 


sufficiently  close,  to  be  assured  that  no  passage  to  the  westward  could  at  ^^  ^ 
present  be  effected,  the  floes  being  literally  upon  the  beach,  and  not  a  drop  ^^r»j 
of  clear  water  being  visible  beyond  them.  I  then  ordered  the  ships  to  be 
made  fast  to  a  floe,  being  in  eighty  fathoms'  water,  at  the  distance  of  four  or 
five  miles  from  the  beach.  The  season  had  now  so  far  advanced,  as  to  make 
it  absolutely  necessary  to  secure  the  ships  every  night  from  ten  till  two 
o'clock,  the  weather  being  too  dark  during  that  interval  to  allow  of  our 
keeping  under-way  in  such  a  navigation  as  this,  deprived  as  we  were  of 
the  use  of  the  compasses.  But,  however  anxious  the  hours  of  darkness  must 
necessarily  be  under  such  circumstances,  the  experience  of  the  former  voyage 
had  given  us  every  reason  to  believe,  that  the  month  of  September  would 
prove  the  most  valuable  period  of  the  year  for  prosecuting  our  discoveries  in 
these  regions,  on  account  of  the  sea  being  more  clear  from  ice  at  this  time 
than  at  any  other.  Feeling,  therefore,  as  I  did,  a  strong  conviction,  that  the 
ultimate  accomplishment  of  our  object  must  depend,  in  a  great  measure,  on 
the  further  progress  we  should  make  this  season,  I  determined  to  extend  our 
operations  to  the  latest  possible  period. 

The  wind  having  been  fresh  from  the  north-east  during  the  night,  we  were  Tues.  7. 
this  morning  enclosed  for  a  time  by  a  quantity  of  loose  ice  drifting  down  upon 
us.  No  change  could  be  perceived  in  the  state  of  the  ice  to  the  westward  till 
one  P.M.,  when  it  appeared  to  be  moving  a  little  off  the  point.  We 
therefore  warped  the  ships  out,  and  made  sail  with  a  light  but  favourable 
breeze.  At  eight  P.M.,  however,  having  arrived  at  the  point,  and  finding  no 
passage  open,  we  made  the  ships  fast  in  a  large  bay  in  a  floe,  in  sixty-five 
fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the  shore.  I  sent 
Lieutenant  Beechey  on  shore  to  look  round  from  the  hills  for  open 
water  to  the  westward,  as  well  as  to  sound  round  some  heavy  masses  of  ice 
which  were  aground  in-shore,  and  within  which  it  would  perhaps  become 
expedient  to  secure  the  ships  in  case  of  necessity.  He  reported  on  his 
return,  at  ten  P.M.,  that  no  clear  water  whatever  could  be  seen  along 
the  land,  the  ice  being  compact,  and  close  in  to  the  shore,  as  far  as  a  bold 
headland  which  now  formed  the  western  extreme  of  the  island,  and  which 
was  from  four  to  five  leagues  distant  from  us.  The  ice  aground  in-shore 
was  very  close  to  the  beach,  which  was  steep-to,  as  our  soundings  in  the  offing 
indicated.  Lieutenant  Beechey  found,  however,  a  depth  of  from  twelve  to 
four  fathoms  Avithin  many  of  the  masses ;  but  as  there  was  little  or  no 
room  to  swing  within  them,  I  preferred  keeping  the  ships  in  their  present 


78  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

situation,  while  the  ice  remained  quiet.  I  was  the  more  induced  to  do  so  from 
the  boldness  of  the  beach,  and  the  depth  of  the  bay  formed  by  the  floe 
to  which  we  were  now  secured,  which  circumstances  seemed  to  render  it 
more  than  probable,  that  the  latter  would  take  the  ground  long  before  the 
ships  could  come  in  contact  with  it.  We  saw  to-day,  for  the  first  time,  a  herd 
of  eight  or  nine  animals,  feeding  near  the  beach,  which,  from  their  dark  colour, 
we  supposed  to  be  musk-oxen;  and  the  officers  of  the  Griper  killed  two  white 
hares  (Lepus  Variabilis).  The  "  young"  or  "bay"  ice  formed  during  the  night 
in  all  the  sheltered  places  about  the  floe,  and  particularly  in  the  bight  in 
which  we  were  lying,  to  the  thickness  of  three-quarters  of  an  inch  ;  and  the 
pools  upon  the  floe  were  now  almost  entirely  solid,  affording  the  officers 
and  men,  during  the  time  of  our  unavoidable  detention,  the  usual  healthy 
amusements  of  skating  and  sliding. 
AVed.  8.  On  the  morning  of  the  8th,  there  being  no  prospect  of  any  immediate 
alteration  in  the  ice,  I  directed  the  boats  to  be  sent  on  shore  from  both 
ships,  to  endeavour  to  procure  some  game,  as  well  as  to  examine  the  pro- 
ductions of  this  part  of  the  island.  On  going  to  the  mast-head,  shortly 
after  the  boats  had  been  despatched,  I  found  that  the  bight  of  ice  in  which 
the  ships  were  lying  was  not  one  floe,  but  formed  by  the  close  junction 
of  two,  so  that  our  situation  was  by  no  means  so  secure  as  I  had  sup- 
posed ;  for  this  bight  was  so  far  from  being  a  protection  to  us,  in  case  of 
the  ice  driving  on  shore,  that  it  would  probably  be  the  means  of  "  nipping" 
us  between  the  floes  which  formed  it.  I  therefore  determined  on  imme- 
diately removing  the  ships  in-shore,  and  went  in  a  boat  to  look  out  for 
a  place  for  that  purpose,  there  being  no  alternative  between  this  and  our 
returning  some  distance  to  the  eastward,  into  the  larger  space  of  clear 
water  which  we  had  there  left  behind  us.  I  found  that  a  heavy  piece  of  ice 
aground  in  twelve  fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  three  hundred  yards  from 
the  beach,  would  suit  our  purpose  for  the  Hecla,  and  another,  in  ten 
fathoms,  still  nearer  in-shore,  was  selected  for  the  Griper.  These  masses 
were  from  twenty  to  thirty  feet  above  the  sea,  and  each  about  the  length 
of  the  respective  ships.  The  beach  in  this  neighbourhood  was  so  lined 
with  ice  of  this  kind,  that  it  would  not  have  been  easy  for  a  ship  to 
have  gone  on  shore  in  any  part,  there  being  generally  from  four  to  seven 
fathoms  on  the  outside  of  it,  while  the  inner  part  of  each  mass  was 
literally  upon  the  beach  at  low  water.  Some  of  the  detached  masses,  at 
a  little  distance  from  the   shore,  must  have  accumulated  very    considera- 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  79 

bly  since   they  grounded,  or  else  must  have   been  forced  up  into  their  pre-    ]819. 
sent  situations  by   an  enormous  pressure   from  without ;    as  some  of  those   J^P^ 
now  aground  in  four  or  five  fathoms  would  have  drawn  at  least  ten,  if  set 
afloat  again*. 

At  four  P.M.,  the  weather  being  quite  calm,  the  ships  were  towed  in- 
shore by  the  boats,  and  made  fast  in  the  places  selected  for  them.  Our 
parties  from  the  shore  returned  with  a  white  hare,  several  fine  ptarmigans, 
a  few  snow-buntings,  some  skulls  of  the  musk-ox,  and  several  rcin-deers' 
horns ;  but  they  were  not  fortunate  enough  to  meet  with  either  of  the  two 
latter  animals.  The  island  is  here,  as  in  the  other  parts  on  which  we  had 
landed,  principally  composed  of  sandstone,  of  which  some  spherical  nodules, 
one  of  them  a^  large  as  a  nine-pounder  shot,  were  brought  on  board.  Several 
lumps  of  coal,  which  was  here  more  abundant  than  we  had  yet  found  it, 
were  also  picked  up,  and  were  found  to  burn  with  a  clear  lively  flame, 
like  cannel  coal,  but  without  splitting  and  crackling  in  the  same  manner. 

Impatient  and  anxious  as  we  were  to  make  the  most  of  the  short  remainder  Thurs.  9. 
of  the  present  season,  our  mortification  will  easily  be  imagined  at  perceiving, 
on  the  morning  of  the  9th,  not  only  that  the  ice  was  as  close  as  ever  to  the 
westward,  but  that  the  floes  in  our  innnediate  neighbourhood  were  sensibly 
approaching  the  shore.  As  there  was  no  chance,  therefore,  of  our  being  en- 
abled to  move,  I  sent  a  party  on  shore  at  day-light  to  collect  what  coal  they 
could  find,  and  in  the  course  of  the  day  nearly  two-thirds  of  a  bushel,  being 
about  equal  to  the  Hecla's  daily  expenditure,  was  brought  on  board.  Our 
sportsmen,  who  were  out  for  several  hours,  could  only  procure  us  a  hare, 
and  a  few  ducks. 

The  wind  was  light  from  the  southward  and  westward,  with  foggy  weather, 
which  was  afterwards  succeeded  by  snow,  and  the  ice  continued  gradually  to 
close  on  the  shore  till  at  length  a  floe  came  in  contact  with  our  berg,  but  with 
so  little  violence  as  to  produce  no  sensible  effect  upon  it.  The  loose  and  heavy 
pieces  of  ice  found  their  way  in,  and  surrounded  the  Hecla  on  all  sides,  but 
produced  no  pressure  from  which  any  danger  was  to  be  apprehended.      Con- 

*  For  want  of  some  more  appropriate  name  by  which  these  masses  of  ice  might  be  dis- 
tinguished, we  were  always  in  the  habit  of  caUing  them  bergs,  which  indeed  they  exactly 
resemble,  though  comparatively  of  small  dimensions,  and  evidently  formed  in  a  very 
different  manner  from  those  enormous  ice-islands,  which  are  met  with  in  Baffin's  Bay,  but 
of  which  we  saw  none  to  the  westward  of  Barrow's  Strait. 


80  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

sidering  our  present  detention  so  near  the  shore  a  good  opportunity  for  observ- 
ing the  time  and  rise  of  the  tides,  I  caused  a  pole  to  be  fixed  on  the  beach  for 
this  purpose,  by  which  it  was  found  to  be  high  water  at  half-past  four  in  the 
morning;  and  the  tide  ebbed  till  half-past  ten.  From  this  time  till  three  quar- 
ters after  four  P.M.,  when  it  was  again  high  water,  the  tide  had  risen  two  feet 
eight  inches;  so  that,  small  as  this  tide  is,  it  seems  to  be  very  regular.  The 
direction  of  the  stream  of  flood  was,  as  usual,  not  so  easy  to  determine,  but  I 
shall  give  the  facts  as  they  occurred.  At  the  time  of  low  water  by  the  shore, 
and  for  an  hour  and  a  quarter  before  it  took  place,  the  current  was  setting  to 
the  eastward,  at  the  rate  of  three  quarters  of  a  mile  per  hour.  It  continued 
to  run  thus  for  the  greater  part  of  the  day,  but  at  times  it  was  observed  to  set 
in  the  opposite  direction,  and  now  and  then  no  current  whatever  was  percep- 
tible. From  eight  till  eleven  P.M.,  it  was  running  strong  to  the  westward, 
after  which  it  stopped,  and  then  began  to  set  the  ice  the  contrary  way.  I  have 
been  thus  minute  in  mentioning  the  above  particulars,  not  with  a  hope  of 
throwing  any  light  upon  the  interesting  question  of  the  direction  of  the  tides 
in  tl|is  part  of  the  Polar  Sea,  but  to  shew  how  impossible  it  is,  with  the  land 
close  to  us  on  one  side,  and  on  the  other  innumerable  masses  of  ice  in  almost 
constant  motion,  to  arrive  at  any  satisfactory  conclusion  on  this  subject. 
Frid.  10.  It  was  nearly  calm  on  the  10th,  with  thick  snowy  weather,  which  prevented 
our  seeing  to  any  great  distance  round  us.  At  five  A.M.,  a  floe  coming  from 
the  westward,  ran  against  the  berg,  within  which  the  Hecla  was  still  secured, 
turning  it  round  as  on  a  pivot.  This  occurrence  is  not  an  uncommon  one  in 
Davis'  Strait,  with  bergs  of  very  large  size,  when  the  centre  part  of  them  only 
happens  to  be  upon  the  ground.  We  were  by  this  time  so  surrounded  by  ice 
that  no  clear  water  was  to  be  seen,  except  the  small  pool  in  which  we  lay  ;  and 
all  that  could  be  done,  under  such  circumstances,  was  to  watch  the  motion  of 
the  ice,  and  to  be  ready  to  shift  the  ship  quickly  round  the  berg,  according  as 
the  floes,  by  setting  one  way  or  the  other,  might  endanger  her  being  "nipped." 
In  the  afternoon  the  ice  slackened  a  little  near  us,  when  an  attempt  was  made 
to  get  the  Hecla  into  a  more  secure  birth  in-shore  ;  but,  after  heaving  a  heavy 
strain  occasionally  for  several  hours,  we  could  only  succeed  before  dark  in 
getting  her  into  a  small  nook  near  the  beach,  in  which,  if  no  very  violent 
pressure  occurred,  she  might  be  tolerably  secure  during  the  night.  A  party  re- 
turned in  the  evening  from  a  shooting-excursion  to  the  western  cape,  bringing 
with  them  only  three  hares,  and  reporting  that  the  sea  was  entirely  covered 
with  ice  as  far  as  they  could  see  to  the  westward  from  the  hills. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  81 

Mr.  Fisher  made  an  experiment  on  the  specific  gravity  of  a  piece  of  ice, 
taken  from  the  mass  to  which  the  ship  was  secured.  Being  formed  into  a  cube, 
whose  sides  measured  one  foot  three  inches  and  a  half,  and  set  to  float  in  the 
sea,  two  inches  and  three  quarters  of  it  remained  above  the  surface,  the  tem- 
perature of  the  water  at  the  time  being  31°. 

On  the  11th  there  was  no  alteration  in  the  ice  near  the  ships,  and  Mr.  Bush-  Sat.  11. 
nan,  whom  1  despatched  at  day -light  to  the  western  cape,  reported,  on  his  return, 
that  appearances  were  equally  unpromising  in  that  quarter.  Mr.  Dealy  was 
fortunate  enough  to  kill  the  first  musk-ox  that  our  sportsmen  had  yet  been  able 
to  get  near  ;  but,  as  it  was  at  the  distance  of  eight  or  ten  miles  from  the  ships, 
our  present  situation,  with  regard  to  the  ice,  would  not  allow  of  my  sending  a 
party  of  men  to  bring  it  on  board.  A  piece  of  the  meat  which  Mr.  Dealy 
brought  with  him  was  considered  to  taste  tolerably  well,  but  its  smell  was  by 
no  means  tempting.  The  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle,  observed  here  by  Captain 
Sabine  to-day,  was  88°  36'. 95. 

The  wind  increased  to  a  fresh  gale  from  the  northward  during  the  night,  and  Sun.  12. 
on  the  morning  of  the  12th  flew  round  to  the  N.N.W.  in  a  very  violent  gust. 
Soon  after  the  ice  began  to  drift  past  us  to  the  eastward,  at  the  rate  of  a  mile 
an  hour,  and  carried  away  Avith  it  the  berg  to  which  the  Hecla  had  been  at- 
tached on  the  9th  and  10th  ;  so  that  we  considered  ourselves  fortunate  in  having 
moved  to  our  present  birth,  which  was  comparatively  a  safe  one.  The  Griper 
remained  also  tolerably  secure,  and  well  sheltered  from  the  drifting  ice,  which 
in  the  course  of  the  forenoon,  had  acquired  a  velocity  of  more  than  a  mile  and 
a  half  per  hour.  In  the  afternoon  the  ice  began  by  degrees  to  drift  from  the 
shore  to  the  westward  of  us,  but  the  wind  blowing  hard  from  the  wrong 
quarter,  it  was  impossible  to  think  of  moving  the  ships.  A  constant  and 
vigilant  look-out  was  also  necessary,  lest  the  berg  to  which  our  hawsers  were 
secured  should  be  forced  off  the  ground,  in  which  case  we  must  inevitably  have 
been  driven  back  many  miles  to  the  eastward,  and  the  labour  of  the  last  ten 
days  would  have  been  lost  in  a  few  hours.  The  night  was  cold  and  inclement, 
with  a  heavy  fall  of  snow,  which  being  blown  among  the  hills,  caused  great 
drifts  in  the  ravines,  by  which  this  part  of  the  island  is  intersected. 

I  must  now  mention  an  occurrence  which  had  caused  considerable  appre- 
hension in  our  minds  for  the  two  last  days,  and  the  result  of  which  had  nearly 
proved  of  very  serious  importance  to  the  future  welfare  of  the  expedition. 
Early  on  the  morning  of  the  11th  1  received  a  note  from  Lieutenant  Liddon, 
acquainting  me  thi*t,  at  day-light  the  preceding  day,  Mr.  Fife,  with  a  party  of 

M 


82  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

six  men,  had  been  despatched  from  the  Griper,  with  the  hope  of  surprising 
some  rein-deer  and  musk-oxen,  whose  tracks  had  been  seen  in  a  ravine  to  the 
westward  of  the  ships.  As  they  had  not  yet  returned,  in  compliance  with  the 
instructions  given  to  Mr.  Fife,  and  had  only  been  supplied  with  a  small  quan- 
tity of  provisions,  it  was  natural  to  apprehend  that  they  had  lost  their  way  in 
pursuit  of  game,  more  especially  as  the  night  had  been  too  inclement  for  them 
to  have  voluntarily  exposed  themselves  to  it.  I  therefore  recommended  to 
Lieutenant  Liddon  to  send  a  party  in  search  of  his  people,  and  Messrs.  Reid, 
Beverly,  and  Wakeham,  who  immediately  volunteered  their  services  on  the 
occasion,  were  accordingly  despatched  for  this  purpose.  Soon  after  their  de- 
parture, however,  it  began  to  snow,  which  rendered  the  atmosphere  so  ex- 
tremely thick,  especially  on  the  hills  along  which  they  had  to  travel,  that  this 
party  also  lost  their  way  in  spite  of  every  precaution,  but  fortunately  got 
sight  of  our  rockets  after  dark,  by  which  they  were  directed  to  the  ships,  and 
returned  at  ten  o'clock,  almost  exhausted  with  cold  and  fatigue,  without  any 
intelligence  of  the  absentees.  > 

At  day-light  on  the  following  morning  I  sent  Lieutenant  Hoppner,  with  the 
Hecla's  fore-royal-mast  rigged  as  a  flag-staff,  which  he  erected  on  a  conspicuous 
hill  four  or  five  miles  inland,  hoisting  upon  it  a  large  ensign,  which  might  be 
seen  at  a  considerable  distance  in  every  direction.  This  expedient  occurred  to 
us  as  a  more  certain  mode  of  directing  our  absentees  towards  the  ships  than 
that  of  sending  out  a  number  of  parties,  which  I  could  not,  in  common  pru- 
dence, as  well  as  humanity,  permit  to  go  to  any  great  distance  from  the  ships ; 
but  the  snow  fell  so  thick,  and  the  drift  was  so  great,  during  the  whole  of  the 
12th,  that  no  advantage  could  at  that  time  be  expected  from  it,  and  another 
night  came  without  the  absent  paity  appearing. 
Mon.  13.  -  Our  apprehensions  on  their  account  had  by  this  time  increased  to  a  most 
painful  degree,  and  I  therefore  ordered  four  parties,  under  the  command  of 
careful  officers,  to  be  prepared  to  set  out  in  search  of  them  the  following 
morning.  These  parties  carried  with  them  a  number  of  pikes,  having  small 
flags  attached  to  them,  which  they  were  directed  to  plant  at  regular  inter- 
vals, and  which  were  intended  to  answer  the  double  purpose  of  guiding 
themselves  on  their  return,  and  of  directing  the  absent  party,  should 
they  meet  with  them,  to  the  ships.  For  the  latter  purpose  a  bottle  was 
fixed  to  each  pike,  containing  the  necessary  directions  for  their  guidance, 
and  acquainting  them  that  provisions  would  be  found  at  the  large  flag-stafF 
on  the  hill.     Our  searching  parties  left  the  ships  soon  after  day-light,  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  83 

wind  still  blowing  hard  from  the  westward,  with  incessant  snow,  and  the 
thermometer  at  28°.  This  weather  continued  without  intermission  during 
the  day,  and  our  apprehensions  for  the  safety  of  our  people  were  excited  to 
a  most  alarming  degree,  when  the  sun  began  to  descend  behind  the  western 
hills,  for  the  third  time  since  they  had  left  the  ship ;  I  will  not,  therefore, 
attempt  to  describe  the  joyful  feelings  we  suddenly  experienced,  on  the 
Griper's  hoisting  the  signal  appointed,  to  inform  us  that  her  men,  or  a  part  of 
them,  were  seen  on  their  return.  Soon  after  we  observed  seven  persons 
coming  along  the  beach  from  the  eastward,  who  proved  to  be  Mr.  Nias 
and  his  party,  with  four  out  of  the  seven  men  belonging  to  the  Griper. 
From  the  latter,  consisting  of  the  corporal  of  marines  and  three  sea- 
men, we  learned  that  they  had  lost  their  way  within  a  few  hours  after 
leaving  the  ship,  and  had  wandered  about  without  any  thing  to  guide 
them  till  about  ten  o'clock  on  the  following  day,  when  they  descried  the 
large  flag-staff,  at  a  great  distance.  At  this  time  the  whole  party  were 
together ;  but  now,  unfortunately,  separated,  in  consequence  of  a  difference 
of  opinion  respecting  the  flagstaff,  which  Mr.  Fife  mistook  for  a  smaller  one 
that  had  been  erected  some  days  before  at  a  considerable  distance  to  the  east- 
ward of  our  present  situation ;  and,  with  that  impression,  walked  away  in  a 
contrary  direction,  accompanied  by  two  of  his  men.  The  other  four  who  had 
now  returned,  (of  whom  two  were  already  much  debilitated,)  determined  to 
make  for  the  flag-staff.  When  they  had  walked  some  distance  and  were  enabled 
to  ascertain  what  it  was,  one  of  them  endeavoured  to  overtake  Mr.  Fife,  but  was 
too  much  fatigued,  and  returned  to  his  comrades.  They  halted  during  a  part 
of  the  night,  made  a  sort  of  hut  of  stones  and  turf  to  shelter  them  from  the 
weather,  and  kindled  a  little  fire  with  gunpowder  and  moss  to  warm  their 
feet ;  they  had  never  been  in  actual  want  of  food,  having  lived  upon  raw 
grouse,  of  which  they  were  enabled  to  obtain  a  quantity  sufficient  for  their 
subsistence.  In  the  morning  they  once  more  set  forward  towards  the  flag- 
staff, which  they  reached  within  three  or  four  hours  after  Lieutenant  Beechey 
had  left  some  provisions  on  the  spot :  having  eaten  some  bread,  and  drank  a 
little  rum  and  water,  a  mixture  which  they  described  as  appearing  to  them  per- 
fectly tasteless  and  clammy,  they  renewed  their  journey  towards  the  ships, 
and  had  not  proceeded  far  when,  notwithstanding  the  snow  which  was  con- 
stantly falling,  they  met  with  footsteps  which  directed  them  to  Mr.  Nias  and 
his  party,  by  whom  they  were  conducted  to  the  ships. 

The  account  they  gave  us  of  Mr.  Fife  and  his  two  companions,  led  us  to 


84  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  believe  that  we  should  find  them,  if  still  living,  at  a  considerable  distance  to 
v.^^^  the  westward,  and  some  parties  were  just  about  to  set  out  in  that  direction, 
when  the  trouble  and  anxiety  which  this  mistake  would  have  occasioned  us 
were  prevented  by  the  arrival  of  another  of  the  searching  parties,  with  the  in- 
formation that  Mr.  Fife  and  the  two  men  were  on  their  way  to  the  ships,  being 
about  five  miles  to  the  eastward.  Some  fresh  hands  were  immediately  sent  to 
bring  them  in,  and  they  arrived  on  board  at  ten  P.M.,  after  an  absence  of 
ninety-one  hours,  and  having  been  exposed,  during  three  nights,  to  the  incle- 
mency of  the  first  wintry  weather  we  had  experienced.  Almost  the  whole  of 
this  party  were  much  exhausted  by  cold  and  fatigue,  and  several  of  them  were 
severely  frost-bitten  in  their  toes  and  fingers  ;  but,  by  the  skill  and  unremitted 
attention  of  our  medical  gentlemen,  they  were  in  a  few  days  enabled  to  return 
to  their  duty. 

Before  midnight  we  had  still  greater  reason  than  ever  to  be  thankful  for 
the  opportune  recovery  of  our  people  ;  for  the  wind  increased  to  a  hard  gale 
about  half-past  eleven,  at  which  time  the  thermometer  had  fallen  to  15° ; 
making  altogether  so  inclement  a  night,  as  it  would  have  been  impossible  fiDr 
them,  in  their  already  debilitated  state,  to  have  survived.  In  humble  gra- 
titude to  God  for  this  signal  act  of  mercy,  we  distinguished  the  headland  to 
the  westward  of  the  ships,  by  the  name  of  Cape  Providence. 
Tues.  14.  Soon  after  midnight,  the  land-ice  which  was  interposed  between  the  Hecla 
and  the  beach,  and  to  which  the  ship  was  partly  secured,  broke  adrift,  and 
floated  off"  the  ground ;  fortunately,  however,  we  were  prepared  to  cut  the 
shore  hawsers,  by  which  means  we  avoided  the  danger  of  being  carried  off 
the  shore,  being  well  secured  to  the  little  berg  a-head  of  us,  which  appeared 
to  be  firmly  aground  in  ten  fathoms' water.  The  stream  cable  was  afterwards 
taken  to  the  beach,  and  I  determined,  should  the  berg  go  adrift,  to  cut  away 
our  hawsers  from  it ;  and,  having  checked  the  ship  by  the  stream-cable  till 
she  swung  into  five  fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  forty  or  fifty  yards  from 
the  shore,  to  let  go  a  bower  anchor,  till  the  wind  should  moderate.  I  com- 
municated my  intention  to  Lieutenant  Liddon  during  the  day,  and  directed 
him,  in  case  of  necessity,  rather  to  run  the  Griper  on  the  soft  beach  near  us, 
than  to  risk  being  driven  back  to  the  eastward.  Fortunately,  however,  it  was 
not  necessary  to  resort  to  this  measure,  as  the  ice  held  fast  on  the  ground, 
notwithstanding  the  violence  of  the  wind,  and  some  sea  which  got  up  from 
the  westward,  as  the  space  of  open  water  between  the  land  and  the  ice 
increased  in  that  direction.     At  three  A.M.   this  morning,  the  thermometer 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  85 

had  been  as  low  as  9°,  and  rose  gradually  to  17°,  at  midnight.     The  sudden    1^819 
and  unexpected  decrease  in  the  general  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  about 


this  period  was  a  very  striking  one ;  and  from  this  time,  as  will  appear  by 
the  Meteorological  Register,  the  commencement  of  winter  may  fairly 
be  dated. 

Our  flag-staves  we  brought  on  board  early  in  the  morning  of  the  15th,  Wed.  15. 
and  at  ten  A.M.,  the  wind  being  somewhat  more  moderate,  the  stream-cable 
was  cast  off  from  the  shore,  in  readiness  for  making  sail ;  but  the  wind 
freshened  up  once  more  to  a  strong  gale,  which  rendered  it  necessary  still  to 
hold  on  by  our  hawsers.  In  the  evening  the  stream-cable  was  taken  on  shore 
again,  and  we  landed  to  make  observations  for  the  variation  of  the  needle, 
which  was  found  to  be  1 17°  52'  22"  easterly. 

It  was  observed,  for  the  first  time,  that  a  strong  current  was  setting  to  the  Thur.  16. 
westward  during  the  whole  of  the  last  night,  directly  against  a  fresh  gale  from 
that  quarter.  At  nine  A.M.,  the  wind  being  much  more  moderate,  as  well 
as  more  off  the  land,  and  the  weather  fine  and  clear,  we  cast  off,  and 
made  all  sail  to  the  westward,  running  along  the  land  at  the  distance  of 
two  or  three  miles  from  it.  At  a  quarter  before  noon,  we  were  abreast 
of  Cape  Providence,  beyond  which,  at  the  distance  of  three  or  four  leagues, 
another  headland,  still  more  high  and  bold  in  its  appearance,  was  dis- 
covered, and  named  after  Mr.  Hay,  Private  Secretary  to  the  First  Lord  of  the 
Admiralty.  At  the  place  which  we  left  in  the  morning,  the  ice  had  been 
driven  from  the  shore  to  the  distance  of  six  or  seven  miles ;  but  we  found,  as 
we  proceeded,  that  the  channel  became  gradually  more  and  more  contracted, 
till  at  length  the  ice  was  observed  to  extend,  in  a  solid  and  impenetrable 
body,  completely  in  to  the  very  shore,  a  little  to  the  eastward  of  Cape  Hay. 
Our  latitude,  by  account  at  noon,  was  74°  23'  25",  longitude  112°  29'  30". 

The  wind  again  freshened  to  a  strong  gale  in  the  afternoon,  reducing  us  to  our 
close-reefed  topsails,  which  were  as  much  as  the  ship  would  bear,  the  squalls 
blowing  out  of  the  ravines  with  extreme  violence.  It  became  necessary, 
therefore,  to  look  out  for  a  secure  situation  for  the  ships  during  the  ensuing 
night,  which  threatened  to  be  a  tempestuous  one;  but  no  such  situation  pre- 
sented itself  in  this  neighbourhood  ;  the  whole  of  the  coast  to  the  westward 
of  Cape  Providence  being  so  steep,  that  the  heaviest  ice  can  find  no  ground 
to  rest  upon.  I  was  therefore  reduced  to  the  disagreeable  necessity  of  run- 
ning back  to  the  lower  shore  three  miles  and  a  half  to  the  eastward  of  Cape 
Providence,  where  alone  the   ships  could,  under  present  circumstances,  be 


86  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  placed  in  tolerable  security  during  six  or  seven  hours  of  darkness.  We  found 
<iy~^  here  twenty-three  fathoms  at  three  hundred  yards  from  the  shore,  and  had 
fifteen  under  our  stern,  at  the  distance  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  yards.  As  it 
was  nearly  dark  before  the  Griper  arrived,  when  it  is  difficult  to  secure  a 
ship  to  the  ice.  Lieutenant  Liddon  found  it  necessary  to  run  into  four  fathoms, 
at  one  hundred  yards  from  the  beech,  and  there  to  drop  his  bower  anchor.  At 
half-past  ten  P.M.,  a  large  mass  of  ice,  which  had  been  aground  near  us,  was 
set  afloat  by  the  swell  and  drifted  off  shore.  A  strong  westerly  current, 
which  was  still  running  to  windward,  set  this  ice  across  our  stern,  and 
occasioned  the  ship  to  strike  violently  several  times  upon  a  "  tongue"  pro- 
jecting from  it  under  water :  the  shocks  exactly  resembled  those  of  a  ship 
striking  the  ground,  and  the  rudder  was  forcibly  lifted  two  or  three  times, 
but  fortunately  without  receiving  any  damage.  I  afterwards  learned  from 
Lieutenant  Liddon,  that  a  great  quantity  of  the  land-ice  had  been  drifting  off 
in  large  pieces  during  the  night  near  the  spot  where  the  Griper  had  anchored, 
keeping  her  crew  employed  for  several  hours  in  veering  and  heaving  in  cable, 
in  order  to  avoid  it. 
Frid.17.  At  nine  A.M.  on  the  17th,  the  wind  being  more  moderate  and  the 
weather  fine,  we  cast  off  and  ran  along  the  land ;  but  had  not  proceeded 
far  when  it  was  perceived  that  the  ice,  in  very  heavy  and  compact  floes  of 
more  than  usual  dimensions,  still  extended  close  into  the  shore  near  Cape 
Hay.  We  observed,  at  noon,  in  latitude  74°  22'  15",  our  longitude,  by 
account,  being  112°  51';  and,  in  the  afternoon,  stood  close  in  to  the  high 
land,  which  here  gives  the  island  a  new  character,  and  tacked  in  forty-three 
fathoms,  at  the  distance  of  five  hundred  yards  from  the  shore.  Further  out  we 
obtained  no  soundings ;  indeed  I  deemed  it  so  essential  to  make  the  most  of 
the  day -light  in  examining  the  state  of  the  ice  to  the  westward,  that  I  did  not 
choose  to  heave-to  for  that  purpose ;  but  the  appearance  of  the  land,  and  the 
soundings  found  in-shore,  indicate  a  considerable  depth  of  water  on  this  part 
of  the  coast. 

The  current  which,  for  the  last  two  days,  had  been  setting  to  the  westward, 
and  which  could  not  possibly  have  escaped  our  observation,  had  it  existed 
previous  to  the  late  westerly  and  north-westerly  gales,  was  here  found  to  be 
running  even  stronger  than  we  had  before  remarked  it.  This  was  made  parti- 
cularly obvious  when,  having  reached  the  farthest  point  westward,  to  which  we 
could  prudently  venture  to  carry  the  ships,  we  were  obliged  to  heave-to, 
in  order  to  watch  for  any  opening  that  might  favour  our  views.     The  ships 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  87 

were  at  this  time  drifting  to  leeward  through  the  water  at  the  rate  of  1819. 
about  a  mile  and  a  quarter  an  hour ;  in  spite  of  which  they  went  so  fast  v3^^ 
to  the  westward  by  the  land,  that  Lieutenant  Beechey  and  myself  esti- 
mated the  current  to  be  running  at  least  two.  miles  per  hour  in  that  di- 
rection. I  must  here  remark  that,  besides  the  current  to  which  I  have 
now  alluded,  and  by  which  the  floes  and  other  heam/  masses  of  ice  ap- 
peared to  be  affected,  there  was  as  usual  in  this  navigation,  a  superficial 
current  also,  setting  the  smaller  pieces  past  the  others  at  a  much  quicker 
rate.  In  the  course  of  this  narrative,  I  shall  have  frequent  occasion  to  remark, 
how,  immediately  after  the  springing  up  of  a  breeze,  such  a  current  ge- 
nerally commences  running  upon  the  surface  in  the  Polar  seas. 

Of  the  causes  which  now  produced  this  strong  westerly  current,  at  a 
time  when  the  contrary  might  rather  have  been  anticipated,  it  is  of  course  not 
easy,  with  our  present  limited  experience  of  this  part  of  the  Polar  Sea, 
to  offer  any  very  probable  conjecture ;  but  the  impression  upon  our  minds  at 
the  time  was,  that  it  was  perhaps  caused  by  the  re-action  of  the  water, 
which  had  been  forced  to  the  eastward  in  the  early  part  of  the  late  gales, 
against  the  ice  with  which  the  sea  was  almost  entirely  covered  in  that 
direction.  Be  this  as  it  may,  however,  we  did  not  fail  to  draw  from  it 
one  conclusion,  Avhich  was  favourable  to  the  object  we  had  in  view ; 
namely,  that  the  drift  of  so  large  a  body  of  ice  for  days  together  in  a 
westerly  direction,  indicated  a  considerable  space  of  open  sea  somewhere 
in  that  quarter.  I  was,  on  every  account,  therefore,  desirous  to  take  ad-- 
vantage  of  a  current  which  was  setting  us  so  fast  in  the  desired  direction, 
and,  with  that  view,  had  come  to  the  determination  to  anchor  the  ships 
to  an  immense  field  of  ice^  over  Avhich  we  could  not  see  from  the  mast- 
head, and  of  which  the  thickness  was  greater  than  any  I  had  ever  be- 
fore seen  ;  by  which  means  we  were  in  hopes  of  making  some  progress, 
notwithstanding  the  unfavourable  appearances  before  us.  Ere  this  could 
be  effected,  however,  it  was  perceived  that  the  main  body  of  the  ice 
was  not  only  setting  to  the  westward,  but  was  also  rapidly  approaching 
the  shore ;  so  that  it  was  impossible  to  adopt  the  proposed  measure,  with- 
out incurring  the  serious  risk  of  being  enclosed  between  them.  Finding  that 
no  further  progress  could  possibly  be  made  at  present,  and  the  wind  again 
freshening  up  from  the  westward,  with  heavy  squalls  of  snow,  I  was  once 
more  under  the  necessity  of  returning  to  the  eastward  till  some  land-ice  could 
be  met  with,  to  which  the  ships  might  be  secured  for  the  night.     They  were 


88  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    accordingly  made  fast  in  a  proper  birth  of  this  kind,  not  far  from  that  which 
v^?,J  we  had  occupied  the  preceding  night,  in  fifteen  fathoms'  water,  and  at  a  hun- 
dred and  fifty  yards  from  the  beach. 

I  entertained  a  hope  that  our  people,  and  especially  the  Griper's  crew,  who 
.  were  still  much  reduced  by  the  effects  of  their  late  sufferings  and  fatigues, 
would  have  been  allowed  a  good  night's  rest,  of  which  they  stood  much  in  need, 
in  order  to  prepare  them  for  fresh  exertions  in  the  morning ;  but,  at  eight  P.M., 
while  it  was  fortunately  yet  light  enough  to  see  about  us,  it  was  perceived  that 
a  large  floe  to  the  south-east  had  very  much  neared  the  shore  since  we  an- 
chored, rendering  it  necessary  immediately  to  leave  our  present  situation, 
where  there  was  not  a  single  mass  of  grounded  ice  on  the  outside  to  afford 
the  smallest  shelter  to  the  ships.  I  determined,  therefore,  to  stand  back  to 
the  eastward,  and  as  the  night  was,  for  the  first  time  this  fortnight  past,  very 
fine  and  moderate,  to  keep  the  ships  under  way,  and  to  regulate  our  course, 
in  the  best  manner  Ave  could,  by  the  stars.  We  had  at  this  time  a  fine  work- 
ing breeze  off  the  land,  but  it  gradually  died  away  towards  midnight,  after 
which  the  "  young"  ice  began  to  form  so  rapidly  on  the  surface  of  the  sea,  that 
we  could  scarcely  get  the  ships  to  move  through  the  water ;  and  at  six  A.M. 
Sat.  18.  on  the  18th,  when  we  were  wiihin  a  quarter  of  a  mile  of  the  shore,  their 
way  was  altogether  stopped.  The  current  was  still  running  so  fast  to  the 
westward,  that  we  were  now  swept  back  along  the  land  at  the  rate  of  a  mile 
and  a  quarter  per  hour.  An  attempt  was,  therefore,  made  to  run  a  line  to  the 
shore,  but  the  "  young"  ice  had  become  so  "  tough,"  that  the  boats  could  not 
succeed  in  getting  through  it,  while  at  the  same  time  it  was  much  too  weak  to 
/  allow  of  their  being  hauled  over  it,  not  exceeding  an  inch  in  thickness.  As 
the  main  body  of  the  ice  to  the  southward  of  us  Avas  now  perceived  to  be  in 
motion  towards  the  shore,  it  became  essential  to  the  safety  of  the  ships  that 
they  should  be  got  in  to  the  beach  in  order  to  secure  them,  if  possible,  within 
the  land  ice ;  and,  as  the  current  was  now  rather  carrying  us  into  deeper 
water,  I  directed  the  ships  to  be  anchored,  as  the  only  means  of  retaining  them 
in  their  present  situation  till  the  lines  could  be  run  out  to  the  shore.  As  soon 
as  Ave  had  anchored,  a  second  attempt  was  made  to  effect  this,  but  with  as  little 
success  as  before,  and  Ave  Avere  very  glad  to  get  the  boats  on  board  again,  the 
young  ice  having  nearly  carried  them  aAvay  from  us  to  the  Avestward.  As  the 
day  advanced,  however,  this  ice  became  gradually  thinner  and  less  conti- 
nuous ;  so  that,  after  much  unavailing  labour,  Ave  at  length  succeeded  in 
geiting  a  hawser  to  the  beach,  by  watching  the  little  openings,  and  taking  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  89 

opportunity  of  pushing  the  boats  through  them.  All  the  hands  which  now  18 19 
remained  on  board  the  Hecla  were  occupied  in  weighing  the  anchor,  a  service  v^r^ 
which  we  could  not  possibly  have  mustered  strength  enough  to  perform,  but 
for  the  cheerfulness  and  zeal  Avith  which  the  officers  volunteered  on  this,  as 
on  various  other  occasions,  to  man  the  capstan.  Having  at  length,  with  much 
difficulty,  effected  this,  we  were  beginning  to  haul  the  ship  in  towards  the 
beach,  when  the  wind  shifted  to  the  south-west,  which  is  rather  upon  this  shore. 
It  was  uncertain  what  change  this  might  produce  in  the  motion  of  the  floes, 
which  seemed  to  be  enclosing  us  rapidly  on  every  side,  and  as  the  bay-ice  had 
now  nearly  disappeared,  it  was  considered  advisable  to  make  sail  upon  the 
ships,  so  as  to  be  ready  to  take  advantage  of  any  alteration  that  might  occur. 
I  sent  to  Lieutenant  Ijiddon  to  desire,  that,  in  case  of  the  ice  closing  upon  us, 
and  of  his  being  unable  to  find  a  proper  security  for  the  Griper  within  the 
grounded  ice,  he  would  at  once  run  her  bow  upon  the  softest  part  of  the 
beach,  so  that  the  floes  might,  perhaps,  force  her  up  without  much  damage  ; 
whereas  it  would  be  attended  with  almost  certain  destruction  to  the  ships, 
should  they  be  caught  between  the  floes  and  the  heavy  masses  of  ice  with  which 
this  beach  was,  for  the  most  part,  lined. 

By  the  time  that  we  had  made  sail,  the  ice  had  completely  surrounded  us 
touching  the  land  to  the  eastward  as  well  as  to  the  westward,  and  leaving  us 
only  a  small  pool  of  open  water,  in  which  we  were  at  liberty  to  beat  about. 
To  the  eastward,  however,  we  could  perceive  from  the  crow's  nest,  that  there 
was  still  a  considerable  channel  of  clear  water,  and  our  only  chance  of  getting- 
into  it  was  by  narrowly  watching  for  any  opening  that  might  occur  in  the  ice 
which  now  opposed  a  formidable  barrier  to  our  escape  in  that  direction.  At 
half-past  one  P.M.,  it  was  observed  that  a  floe,  which  formed  the  principal  ob- 
struction to  our  progress  eastward,  and  which  the  current  was  rapidly  carrying 
along  the  shore,  had  at  length  come  violently  in  contact  with  a  small  point  of 
land  near  us,  and  was  now  receding  from  it  by  its  own  re-action.  We  stood 
towards  this  opening,  in  order  to  observe  it  more  distinctly,  and  I  hailed  the 
Griper  to  desire  Lieutenant  Liddon  to  be  in  readiness  to  make  sail,  should  it 
appear  sufficiently  broad  for  our  purpose.  On  approaching  this  spot,  we  found 
the  passage  about  three  hundred  yards  wide  between  the  land  and  the  ice  • 
and  as  there  was  no  time  either  for  deliberation  or  for  sounding  the  channel, 
all  the  studding-sails  were  instantly  set  in  both  ships,  and  we  pushed  through 
the  opening  at  the  distance  of  a  hundred  yards  from  the  beach,  having  no  less 
than  ten  fathoms'  water. 


90  VOYAGE  FOR,  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  It  was  impossible  not  to  consider  ourselves  fortunate  in  having  escaped  the 
^,^4^  danger  which  had  lately  threatened  the  ships ;  but  another  difficulty  now  pre- 
sented itself  which  we  had  not  anticipated.  This  was  occasioned  by  finding 
nearly  the  whole  surface  of  that  part  of  the  sea,  which  at  a  distance  had  ap- 
peared to  us  open,  covered  with  a  coating  of  young  ice  of  sufficient  thickness 
to  offer  a  considerable  impediment  to  the  ships,  when  sailing  with  a  strong  and 
favourable  breeze.  To  give  some  idea  of  the  degree  of  obstruction  occa- 
sioned by  this  ice,  whose  thickness  did  not  generally  exceed  half  an  inch,  it 
may  be  sufficient  to  state,  that  with  such  a  quantity  of  sail  as  would  certainly 
have  propelled  the  Hecla  six  miles  and  a  half  an  hour,  if  unimpeded  in  this 
way,  she  did  not  average  more  than  four  miles.  This  remark  must  be  under- 
stood to  apply  to  ice  of  this  kind,  when  of  a  single  thickness,  and  in  the 
state  in  which  it  is  naturally  formed  upon  the  surface.  But,  whenever,  by 
any  pressure  on  either  side,  the  sheet  is  broken,  and  the  edges  of  one  part 
forced  under  those  of  another,  causing  them  to  overlay  each  other,  the  whole 
thickness  of  the  ice  is  of  course  augmented,  and  the  impediment  to  a  ship 
becomes  greater  in  proportion  to  the  frequency  with  which  this  occurs. 
Where  this  has  taken  place,  the  ice,  being  too  thick  to  allow  the  water  to  be 
seen  through  it,  is  distinguished  by  the  whiteness  of  its  appearance ;  the 
white  ice,  therefore,  is  to  be  avoided  in  sailing,  as  much  as  possible. 

It  was  my  intention,  as  usual  with  us  of  late,  to  sail  along  the  shore  till 
we  came  to  any  land-ice  calculated  to  afford  shelter  to  the  ships  during  the 
night.  As  we  ran  along,  however,  it  was  soon  perceived  that  the  main  body 
of  the  ice  was  very  rapidly  approaching  the  shore,  at  the  same  time  that  the 
westerly  current  was  still  carrying  in  that  direction ;  the  ships  were  imme- 
diately hauled  in-shore,  to  find  the  best  security  against  it  which  circum- 
stances would  admit,  but  the  bay-ice  had  in  this  place  become  so  thickened 
by  the  continued  pressure  of  the  floes  upon  it  from  without,  that  the  ships 
were  shortly  arrested  in  their  progress,  being  about  one  mile  distant  from  the 
land.  Every  expedient  to  break  the  ice,  usual  in  such  cases,  was  resorted 
to,  without  our  being  able  to  move  the  ships  a  single  foot  a-head.  The  floe 
continued  rapidly  closing  on  the  shore,  forcing  the  ships  in  before  it,  and  bring- 
ing with  it  so  much  of  the  bay-ice,  that  it  was  needless  any  longer  to 
employ  the  people  in  attempting  to  break  it:  to  anchor  seemed  now  the 
only  mode  Ave  had  left  to  avoid  being  driven  on  shore,  or,  what  was  much 
more  to  be  apprehended,  being  forced  by  the  floes  against  the  heavy  ice 
on   the  beach.     We  waited,  therefore,  till  at  seven  P.M.  we  had  shoaled 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  91 

the  water  gradually  from  twenty-nine  to  nine  fathoms,  and  then  dropped  the 
bower-anchor.  When  the  ship  swung  in-shore  by  the  continued  pressure  of 
the  ice,  we  had  still  seven  fathoms  under  the  stern,  our  distance  from  the 
beach  being  about  forty  yards.  We  now  seemed  to  have  got  rather  within 
the  drift  of  the  main  body  of  ice,  which  passed  us  to  the  westward  at  the 
rate  of  two  miles  an  hour  ;  but,  at  length,  the  point  of  a  large  field,  which 
had  hitherto  not  approached  the  shore  nearer  than  two  or  three  hundred 
yards,  was  observed  to  be  rapidly  nearing  us.  Immediately  to  the  westward 
of  the  spot  where  the  Hecla's  anchor  had  been  dropped,  some  very  heavy  ice, 
which,  for  distinction's  sake,  we  called  a  berg,  projected  from  the  beach  to 
the  distance  of  a  hundred  and  fifty  yards.  The  ships  had  fortunately  been 
forced  by  the  ice,  one  on  each  side  of  this  projecting  point ;  for  at  eight  P.M. 
the  field  came  in  contact  with  it  with  a  tremendous  crash,  piling  up  the 
enormous  fragments  of  ice  in  the  most  awful  and  terrific  manner ;  this 
seemed  to  break,  in  some  degree  the  force  with  which  the  ice  had  been 
driving ;  a  force  which  may  almost  be  considered  incalculable,  as  we  could 
not  see  over  the  field  in  motion  from  our  mast-head.  We  were  at  this 
time  within  a  hundred  yards  of  the  point,  and  had,  therefore,  great  reason 
to  be  thankful  for  having  escaped  being  carried  into  a  situation  in  which 
no  human  power  or  skill  could  have  saved  the  ships  from  instant  de- 
struction. 

As  the  pressure  of  the  bay-ice  around  the  ship  continued  to  increase,  she 
was  carried  gradually  in  towards  the  shore,  and  as  nothing  was  now  to  be 
expected  but  her  being  driven  on  the  beach,  I  ordered  the  rudder  to  be 
lifted,  the  sails  to  be  furled,  and  the  top-gallant  yards  to  be  ready  for 
striking.  At  half-past  eight  P.M.,  the  Hecla  had  tailed  into  three  fathoms 
and  a  half,  about  fifteen  yards  from  the  beach.  The  quantity  of  bay-ice 
which  was  squeezed  up  between  the  ship  and  the  shore  had  by  this  time  be- 
come so  great,  that  it  would  easily  bear  the  boats  and  the  men,  the  former  of 
which  were  hauled  over  the  ice  to  enable  us  to  hoist  them  up.  It  seemed 
also  to  serve  the  useful  purpose  of  a  fender  to  keep  the  ship  off  the  ground, 
which  she  did  not  appear  to  touch  in  any  part. 

In  the  meantime,  the  Griper  had  been  carried  into  a  situation  nearly 
similar  to  ours,  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  berg,  by  which  she  was  partly 
hidden  from  our  view.  We  observed  her  heel  over  very  much  at  times,  but 
knowing  that  a  very  trifling  pressure  was  with  her  sufficient  to  produce  this 
effect,  little  apprehension  was  entertained  on  that  account,     I  subsequently 


.  92  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  learned  from  Lieutenant  Liddon,  that  when  the  field  of  ice  closed  upon  us, 
\^-Y->L'  a  point  of  it  had  caught  the  Griper's  chain-cable,  by  which  the  anchor 
was  immediately  started,  and  the  vessel  carried  towards  the  shore.  The 
cable  was  dragged  out  so  swiftly,  that  it  could  not  be  slipped,  and,  in  a  few 
minutes,  the  space  between  the  two  hawse-holes  was  completely  cut  through. 
The  cable  parted  soon  after,  and  the  other  anchor  being  let  go,  brought 
the  ship  up  in  time  to  prevent  her  going  on  shore.  The  Griper  also  lost 
one  of  her  boats  on  this  occasion,  but  was  fortunate  in  sustaining  no  ma- 
terial injury. 

At  nine  P.M.,  the  ice  moved  a  few  hundred  yards  off  the  land,  and  the 
opportunity  was  taken  to  heave  the  Hecla  into  a  little  nook,  formed  by  the 
grounded  ice,  where  we  lay  without  disturbance  during  the  night.  The 
officers  and  men  were  much  fatigued  by  this  day's  exertions,  and  I  directed 
the  main  brace  to  be  spliced,  and  an  extra-allowance  of  preserved  meat  to 
be  served. 
Sun.  19.  At  day-light,  on  the  19th,  the  field-ice  had  drifted  about  a  mile  from  the 
land,  the  intermediate  space  being  almost  entirely  occupied  by  innumerable 
loose  fragments  cemented  together  by  bay-ice,  so  as  to  form  one  connected 
and  impenetrable  body.  The  weather  was  nearly  calm  with  continued  snow, 
and  the  ice  remained  tolerably  quiet  during  the  day. 
Moil.  20.  Early  on  the  morning  of  the  20th,  the  breeze  freshened  up  from  the 
N.N.E.,  and  soon  after  four  A.M.,  the  ice  began  to  open  out  from  the 
shore.  It  did  not,  however,  take  a  direction  immediately  off  the  land, 
though  the  wind  was  nearly  so,  for  there  was  still  a  current  Avhich  carried  the 
floes  to  the  westward;  and  some  of  the  projecting  points  came  very  near  the 
land.  Some  of  these  missed  the  Hecla  by  about  a  hundred  yards ;  but  at 
half-past  eight,  one  of  them  was  observed  to  be  moving  directly  into  the  bight 
where  the  Griper  was  lying.  In  a  few  minutes  after  this,  we  perceived  her  to 
heel  so  much,  that  no  doubt  could  be  entertained  of  her  having  been  forced  on 
shore  by  the  ice.  Having  sent  Mr.  Palmer  round  by  land  to  inquire  what 
was  her  situation,  I  was  informed  that  she  was  aground  on  the  beach,  having 
only  seven  feet  water  on  the  inside,  and  the  ice  still  continuing  to  press 
upon  her  from  without.  I  therefore  consulted  my  officers  as  to  the  measures 
it  would,  under  these  circumstances,  be  most  prudent  to  adopt,  and  des- 
patched Lieutenant  Beechey  round  to  the  Griper,  to  explain  my  intentions  to 
Lieutenant  Liddon.  I  proposed,  if  the  Griper  required  lightening  con- 
siderably before  she  could  be  hove  off,  an  operation  which,  in  her  present 


~^4 


^ 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  93 

situation,  it  would  require  some  time  to  perform,  to  get  the  Hecla,  as  quickly 
as  possible,  into  the  tirst  place  of  security  we  could  find,  and  then  to  march 
all  hands  round  to  the  Griper,  for  the  purpose  of  getting  her  afloat. 

Shortly  after  our  leaving  England,  Lieutenant  Liddon  had  been  unfor- 
tunately attacked  with  a  severe  rheumatic  complaint,  Avhich  confined  him  to 
his  cabin  during  our  passage  across  the  Atlantic,  but  of  which  he  so  far  re- 
covered, soon  after  our  making  the  ice  in  June,  as  to  be  able  constantly  to 
attend  to  his  duty  on  deck  during  the  rest  of  the  summer.  The  harassing  cir- 
cumstances, however,  which  had  attended  our  exertions  for  the  last  fortnight, 
and  the  sensible  change  which  had  lately  taken  place  in  the  temperature  of 
the  atmosphere,  had  combined  to  produce  a  serious  alteration  for  the  worse ; 
so  that  at  the  time  of  the  Griper's  being  driven  on  shore,  he  was  again 
reduced  to  a  very  debilitated  state.  On  this  account  I  proposed  to  him  to 
allow  himself  to  be  removed  on  board  the  Hecla,  until  the  Griper  should  be 
got  afloat  again.  To  this  proposal,  however,  he  would  by  no  means  listen, 
assuring  me,  that  he  should  be  the  last  man,  instead  of  the  first,  to  leave 
the  Griper  ;  and  he  remained  seated  against  the  lee  side  of  the  deck  during 
the  greater  part  of  the  day,  giving  the  necessary  orders. 

The  wind  continuing  strong  from  the  northward,  the  ice  left  the  shore 
very  rapidly  in  the  afternoon,  so  that,  by  one  P.M.,  there  was  once  more  a 
little  clear  water  about  the  ships.  Before  Lieutenant  Beechey  left  the  Griper, 
they  had  been  enabled  to  get  the  hand-lead  down  on  the  sea-side  of  the  vessel, 
where  they  found  between  fifteen  and  sixteen  feet  water ;  and,  as  the  tide 
was  now  rising,  we  began  to  entertain  great  hopes  of  her  coming  off  the 
shore  without  difficulty  or  damage.  Soon  after  noon  we  perceived  that 
she  had  righted  considerably,  and  at  two  P.M.,  we  were  informed  by  tele- 
graph that  she  was  afloat.  A  party  of  our  hands  was  sent  on  board  to  assist 
in  making  her  snug,  that  she  might  be  ready  for  moving  whenever  the  ice 
would  permit.  The  wind  blew  hard  from  the  northward  during  the  night, 
with  a  good  deal  of  snow ;  and  the  thermometer  was  at  10|°  at  midnight. 
The  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  faintly  in  the  S.S.W.  quarter  of  the 
heavens. 

The  advanced  period  of  the  season,  the  unpromising  appearance  of  the 
ice  to  the  westward,  and  the  risk  to  the  ships  with  which  the  navigation 
had  been  attended  for  some  days  past,  naturally  led  me  to  the  conclusion 
that,  under  these  circumstances,  the  time  had  arrived,  when  it  became  ab- 
solutely necessary  to  look  out  for  winter-quarters.     Among  the  circumstances 


M  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  which  now  rendered  this  navigation  more  than  usually  perilous,  and  the 
<,,J^  hope  of  success  proportionally  less,  there  was  none  which  gave  more  rea- 
sonable ground  for  apprehension  than  the  incredible  rapidity  with  which  the 
young  ice  formed  upon  the  surface  of  the  sea,  during  the  greater  part  of  the 
twenty-four  hours.  It  had  become  evident,  indeed,  that  it  could  only  be 
attributed  to  the  strong  winds  which  had  lately  prevailed,  that  the  sea  was 
not  at  this  time  permanently  frozen  over ;  for,  whenever  the  wind  blew  less 
than  a  gale,  that  formation  took  place  immediately,  and  went  on  with  such 
astonishing  rapidity,  that  had  the  weather  continued  calm  for  more  than  four- 
and-twenty  hours  together,  it  seemed  to  me  extremely  probable,  that  we 
must  have  passed  the  winter  in  our  present  exposed  and  insecure  situation. 

From  this  and  various  other  considerations,  which  the  account  of  our  late 
proceedings  will  naturally  suggest,  I  considered  it  a  duty  incumbent  upon 
me  to  call  for  the  opinions  of  the  senior*  officers  of  the  expedition,  as  to  the 
expediency  of  immediately  seeking  a  harbour,  in  which  the  ships  might 
securely  lie  during  the  ensuing  winter.  The  opinions  of  the  officers  en- 
tirely concurring  with  my  own,  as  to  the  propriety  of  immediately  resorting 
to  this  measure,  I  determined,  whenever  the  ice  and  the  weather  would  allow, 
to  run  back  to  the  Bay  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  in  which  neighbourhood  alone 
we  had  any  reason  to  believe  that  a  suitable  harbour  might  be  found. 

Tues.21.  It  blew  a  hard  gale  from  the  northward  during  the  night,  by  which  means 
the  floes  were  kept  at  a  distance  from  the  land,  and  by  the  bay-ice  prevented 
from  forming  under  the  lee  of  it.  The  sea  to  the  eastward  was  not,  however, 
sufficiently  clear,  nor  the  wind  moderate  enough  during  the  21st,  to  allow  us 
to  move  the  ships.  The  land  was  now  almost  entirely  covered  with  snow, 
and,  as  we  afterwards  found,  remained  so  during  the  winter.  A  few  coveys 
of  the  ptarmigan  were  seen  near  the  beach  during  the  time  that  we  remained 
at  this  station. 

Wed.  22.  At  half-past  two,  on  the  morning  of  the  22d,  the  night-signal  was  made  to 
weigh,  and  we  began  to  heave,  at  our  cables ;  but  such  was  the  difficulty  of 
raising  our  anchor,  and  of  hauling  in  our  hawsers,  owing  to  the  stiffiiess  of 
the  ropes  from  frost,  and  thie  quantity  of  ice  which  had  accumulated  about 
them,  that  it  was  five  o'clock  before  the  ships  were  under  way.  Our  rudder 
also  was  so  choked  by  the  ice  which  had  formed  about  it,  that  it  could  not 
hv  moved  till  a  boat  had  been  hauled  under  the  stern,  and  the  ice  beaten 
and  cut  a,way  from  it.  We  ran  along  to  the  eastward  without  any  obstruc- 
tion,  in  a  channel   about   five   miles  wide,  till   we   were  within  four  or 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  95 

five  miles  of  Cape  Hearne,  where  the  bay-ice,  in  unbroken  sheets  of  about 
one-third  of  an  inch  iu  thickness,  began  to  offer  considerable  impediment  to 
our  progress.  We  were  abreast  of  the  point  at  noon,  and  here  our  prospect 
was  rather  discouraging ;  the  anchorage  in  the  bay  was  quite  free  from  any 
obstruction,  but  a  space  of  three  or  four  miles  to  the  north-eastward  of  Cape 
Hearne,  was  completely  covered  with  bay-ice,  which  made  it  more  than  pro- 
bable that  we  should  altogether  be  excluded  from  the  roadstead.  We  entered 
this  ice  under  a  press  of  sail,  the  wind  blowing  strong  from  the  northward, 
and  found  it  to  consist  principally  of  that  kind  which,  from  its  appearance, 
is  technically  called  "  pancake-icfe,"  and  which,  though  it  considerably  re- 
tarded our  progress  in  beating  to  windward,  did  not  offer  so  serious  an  im- 
pediment as  we  had  expected.  At  half-past  two  P.M.,  in  swinging  the 
main-topsail-yard  in  stays,  it  was  unfortunately  carried  away  in  the  slings, 
but  this  accident  was  quickly  repaired  by  the  zealous  exertions  of  the 
officers  and  men.  As  I  saw  that  the  Griper,  which  had  dropped  several 
miles  astern  in  the  course  of  the  day,  could  not  possibly  reach  the  anchorage 
before  dark,  and  being  apprehensive  that  by  a  too  anxious  endeavour  to 
effect  that  object,  she  might  become  frozen  up  at  sea  during  the  night,  I 
made  Lieutenant  Liddon's  signal  to  secure  his  ship  to  the  grounded  ice  off 
Cape  Hearne,  which  he  accordingly  did.  Soon  after  the  sun  had  set,  I  had 
reason  to  entertain  the  same  apprehension  for  the  Hecla  ;  for  the  young  ice 
began,  as  usual,  to  form  upon  the  surface  of  the  water,  and  in  an  hour's 
time  offered  so  considerable  a  resistance  to  the  ship's  motion,  though  under  a 
press  of  canvass,  and  with  a  fresh  breeze,  as  to  make  it  doubtful  for  some 
time  whether  we  should  reach  the  anchorage.  We  at  length,  however, 
struck  soundings  with  twenty-nine  fathoms  of  line,  and  at  eight  P.M.  anchored 
in  nine  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom,  a  little  to  the  eastward  of  our  situation 
on  the  5th. 

The  wind  continued  northerly,  with  a  heavy  fall  of  snow  during  the  night.  Thur.23. 
At  half-past  six  A.M.  on  the  23d,  there  being  fortunately  so  little  bay-ice 
that  a  boat  could  easily  pull  through  it,  I  left  the  ship,  accompanied  by 
Mr.  Nias,  to  examine  Fife's  harbour,  which  had  been  reported  to  me  as 
affording  good  shelter,  but  having  a  bar  across  its  entrance,  I  directed 
Lieutenant  Beechey  at  the  same  time  to  get  the  Hecla  under  way,  and  to 
anchor  wherever  I  should  lay  down  a  buoy  for  that  purpose.  My  mortification 
may  well  be  imagined  at  finding,  on  my  arrival  off  Fife's  harbour,  that  it  was 
covered  with  one  solid  sheet  of  ice  from  six  to  twelve  inches  in  thickness. 


96  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

which  had  been  entirely  formed  since  our  last  visit  to  this  place.  I  landed 
on  the  west  side  of  the  harbour,  and  being  soon  after  joined  by  a  boat  from 
the  Griper,  which  vessel  was  beating  up  from  Cape  Hearne,  I  was  informed 
by  Mr.  Slcene,  that  a  second  bay  or  harbour  had  been  seen  by  the  officers 
on  the  former  occasion,  a  short  distance  to  the  Avestward  of  this.  We  lost  no 
time,  therefore,  in  rowing  there,  having  first  laid  down  a  buoy,  near  which 
the  Hecla  was  to  anchor,  and  made  the  necessary  signal  to  Lieutenant 
Beechey. 

In  going  to  the  westward,  we  passed  a  shoal  and  open  bay,  immediately 
adjacent  to  the  harbour  which  we  were  now  about  to  examine,  and  soon  after 
came  to  a  reef  of  rocks,  in  some  parts  nearly  dry,  extending  about  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile  to  the  southward  of  a  low  point  on  the  south-eastern  side 
of  the  harbour.  On  rounding  the  reef,  on  which  a  quantity  of  heavy  ice 
was  lying  aground,  we  found  that  a  continuous  floe,  four  or  five  inches  in 
thickness,  was  formed  over  the  whole  harbour,  which  in  every  other  respect, 
appeared  to  be  fit  for  our  purpose  ;  and  that  it  would  be  necessary  to  cut  a 
canal  of  two  miles  in  length  through  the  ice,  in  order  to  get  the  ships  into  a 
secure  situation  for  the  winter.  We  sounded  the  channel  into  the  harbour 
for  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile,  by  making  holes  in  the  ice  and  dropping 
the  lead  through,  and  found  the  depth  from  five  to  six  fathoms. 

Having  ascertained  thus  far,  it  remained  for  me  to  sound  the  bar  of  Fife's 
harbour,  and  then  to  choose  between  the  two  places.  I  returned  on  board, 
therefore,  for  the  boats'  crews  to  dine,  and  then  proceeded  in  execution  of 
this  object.  The  entrance  into  Fife's  harbour  is  extremely  narrow,  which 
enabled  us  the  sooner  to  determine  the  utter  impracticability  of  getting  the 
ships  into  it,  as  we  found  the  depth  on  the  bar  to  be  barely  twelve  feet  at 
high  water  and  a  spring  tide.  I  returned  on  board,  therefore,  and  deter- 
mined on  taking  the  ships  round  the  reef  to  the  entrance  of  the  westernmost 
harbour,  on  the  following  morning.  A  good  deal  of  snow  fell  this  evening, 
and  the  young  ice  formed  on  the  surface  after  sun-set. 
Frid.24.  The  ships  weighed  at  six  A.M.  on  the  24th,  the  wind  being  still  at  north, 
and  the  weather  moderate  and  fine.  As  soon  as  the  Hecla  was  under  sail,  I 
went  a-head  in  a  boat  to  sound,  and  to  select  an  anchorage  for  the  ships. 
In  running  to  the  westward  towards  the  point  of  the  reef,  we  had  no  less 
than  three  fathoms  and  three  quarters ;  and,  by  keeping  farther  off  shore,  we 
might  have  had  much  deeper  water,  but  the  wind  being  scant,  it  was  neces- 
sary to  keep  well  to  the  northward.     Near  the  south-western  point  of  this 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  97 

harbour  there  is  a  remarkable  block  of  sandstone,  somewhat  resembling  the 
roof  of  a  house,  on  which  the  ships'  names  were  subsequently  engraved  by 
Mr.  Fisher.  This  stone  is  very  conspicuous  in  coming  from  the  eastward, 
and  when  kept  open  to  the  southward  of  the  grounded  ice  at  the  end  of  the 
reef,  forms  a  good  leading  mark  for  the  channel  into  the  harbour.  Off  the 
end  of  the  reef  the  water  deepened  to  six  fathoms,  and  the  Hecla's  anchor 
was  dropped  in  eight  fathoms,  half  a  mile  within  the  reef,  and  close  to  the 
edge  of  the  ice  through  which  the  canal  was  to  be  cut.  The  Griper  arrived 
soon  after,  and  by  half-past  eight  A.M.  both  ships  were  secured  in  the  proper 
position  for  commencing  the  intended  operations. 

As  soon  as  our  people  had  breakfasted  I  proceeded,  with  a  small  party  of 
men,  to  sound,  and  to  mark  with  boarding-pikes  upon  the  ice,  the  most  direct 
channel  we  could  find  to  the  anchorage  ;  having  left  directions  for  every  other 
officer  and  man  in  both  ships  to  be  employed  in  cutting  the  canal.  This  opera- 
tion was  performed  by  first  marking  out  two  parallel  lines,  distant  from  each 
other  a  little  more  than  the  breadth  of  the  larger  ship.  Along  each  of  these 
lines  a  cut  was  then  made  with  an  ice-saw,  and  others  again  at  right  angles  to 
them,  at  intervals  of  from  ten  to  twenty  feet ;  thus  dividing  the  ice  into  a 
number  of  rectangular  pieces,  which  it  was  again  necessary  to  subdivide  dia- 
gonally, in  order  to  give  room  for  their  being  floated  out  of  the  canal.  On 
returning  from  the  upper  part  of  the  harbour,  where  I  had  marked  out  what 
appeared  to  be  the  best  situation  for  our  winter-quarters,  I  found  that  consi- 
derable progress  had  been  made  in  cutting  the  canal,  and  in  floating  the  pieces 
out  of  it.  To  facilitate  the  latter  part  of  the  process,  the  seamen,  who  are 
always  fond  of  doing  things  in  their  own  way,  took  advantage  of  a  fresh 
northerly  breeze,  by  setting  some  boats'  sails  upon  the  pieces  of  ice,  a  con- 
trivance which  saved  both  time  and  labour.  This  part  of  the  operation, 
however,  was  by  far  the  most  troublesome,  principally  on  account  of  the 
quantity  of  young  ice  which  formed  in  the  canal,  and  especially  about  the 
entrance,  where,  before  sun-set,  it  had  become  so  thick  that  a  passage  could 
no  longer  be  found  for  the  detached  pieces,  without  considerable  trouble  in 
breaking  it.  At  half  past  seven  P.M.  we  weighed  our  anchors,  and  began  to 
warp  up  the  canal,  but  the  northerly  wind  blew  so  fresh,  and  the  people  were 
so  much  fatigued,  having  been  almost  constantly  at  work  for  nineteen  hours, 
that  it  was  midnight  before  we  reached  the  termination  of  our  first  day's  labour. 
While  we  were  thus  employed,  about  nine  o'clock  a  vivid  flash  of  light  was 
observed,  exactly  like  lightning.     There  was  at  the  same  time,  and  during  the 

o 


98  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

greater  part  of  the  night,  a  permanent  brightness  in  the  northern  quarter  of 
the  heavens,  which  was  probably  occasioned  by  the  Aurora  Borealis.  I  di- 
rected half  a  pound  of  fresh  meat  per  man  to  be  issued,  as  an  extra  allowance ; 
and  this  was  continued  daily  till  the  completion  of  our  present  undertaking. 

Sat.  25.  All  hands  were  again  set  to  work  on  the  morning  of  the  25th,  when  it  was 
proposed  to  sink  the  pieces  of  ice,  as  they  were  cut,  under  the  floe,  instead  of 
floating  them  out,  the  latter  mode  having  now  become  impracticable  on  ac- 
count of  the  lower  part  of  the  canal,  through  which  the  ships  had  passed, 
being  hard  frozen  during  the  night.  To  eflfect  this,  it  was  necessary  for  a 
certain  number  of  men  to  stand  upon  one  end  of  the  piece  of  ice  which  it  was 
intended  to  sink,  while  other  parties,  hauling  at  the  same  time  upon  ropes 
attached  to  the  opposite  end,  dragged  the  block  under  that  part  of  the  floe 
on  which  the  people  stood.  The  officers  of  both  ships  took  the  lead  in  this 
employ,  several  of  them  standing  up  to  their  knees  in  water  frequently  during 
the  day,  with  the  thermometer  generally  at  12°,  and  never  higher  than  16°.  At 
six  P.M.  we  began  to  move  the  ships.  The  Griper  was  made  fast  astern  of  the 
Hecla,  and  the  two  ships'  companies  being  divided  on  each  bank  of  the  canal, 
with  ropes  from  the  Hecla's  gangways,  soon  drew  the  ships  along  to  the  end 
of  our  second  day's  work. 

Sun.  26.  I  should,  on  every  account,  have  been  glad  to  make  this  a  day  of  rest  to  the 
officers  and  men ;  but  the  rapidity  with  which  the  ice  increased  in  thickness, 
in  proportion  as  the  general  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  diminished,  would 
have  rendered  a  day's  delay  of  serious  importance.  I  ordered  the  work,  there- 
fore, to  be  continued  at  the  usual  time  in  the  morning ;  and  such  was  the 
spirited  and  cheerful  manner  in  which  this  order  was  complied  with,  as  well 
as  the  skill  which  had  now  been  acquired  in  the  art  of  sawing  and  sinking 
the  ice,  that,  although  the  thermometer  was  at  6°  in  the  morning,  and  rose 
no  higher  than  9°  during  the  day,  we  had  completed  the  canal  at  noon,  having 
effected  more  in  four  hours  than  on  either  of  the  two  preceding  days.  The 
whole  length  of  this  canal  was  four  thousand  and  eighty-two  yards,  or  nearly 
two  miles  and  one-third,  and  the  average  thickness  of  the  ice  was  seven  inches. 
At  half-past  one  P.M.  we  began  to  track  the  ships  along  in  the  same  manner 
as  before,  and  at  a  quarter  past  three  we  reached  our  winter-quarters,  and 
hailed  the  event  with  three  loud  and  hearty  cheers  from  both  ships'  companies. 
The  ships  were  in  five  fathoms'  water,  a  cable's  length  from  the  beach  on  the 
north  western  side  of  the  harbour,  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  Winter  Hae- 
BouR ;    and  I  called  the  group  of  islands  which  we  had  discovered  in  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  99 

Polar  Sea  New  Georgia  ;  but  having  afterwards  recollected  that  this  name  is     1819. 
already  occupied  in  another  part  of  the  world,  I  deemed  it  expedient  to  change   ^^ 
it  to  that  of  the    North  Georgian  Islands,   in   honour  of  our  gracious  So- 
vereign, George  the  Third,  whose  whole  reign  had  been  so  eminently  dis- 
tinguished by  the  extension  and  improvement  of  geographical  and    nautical 
knowledge,  and  for  the  prosecution  of  new  and  important  discoveries  in  both. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  September, 

1819. 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  siiade. 

III 

Barometer, 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Day 

Maxi- 

Mini- 
mam. 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini. 

Mean. 

+ 

+ 

+ 

+ 

inclies. 

inches. 

inches. 

1 

o 
36 

31.5 

33.00 

31.8 

29.99 

29.63 

29.77  5 

N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy,  with  small  snow. 

2 

36 

31 

32.79 

31.4 

30.31 

30.05 

30.212 

S.W.bW. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy. 

3 

37 

31 

34.17 

32.5 

30.42 

30.31 

30.377 

N.W. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

4 

35 

28 

31.83 

31.9 

30.37 

30.31 

30.340 

N.W.bN. 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

5 

32 

28.5 

30.58 

31.8 

30.31 

30.21 

30.245 

N.N.E. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

6 

30 

25 

27.96 

30.2 

30.18 

30.14 

30.155 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

7 

30 

25 

28.42 

29.8 

30.12 

30.10 

30.110 

N.N.E. 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

8 

31 

28 

30.00 

30.0 

30.09 

30.07 

30.085 

C      A.M.  N.E.      I 
I     P.M.  S.W.      5 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

9 

32 

29 

30.67 

30.5 

30.11 

30.04 

30.072 

S.W. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

10 

32 

30 

31.00 

30.9 

30.10 

30.01 

30.075 

Round  the  Compass. 

Light  airs  and  hazy,  with  snow. 

11 

30 

26 

27.75 

30.2 

29.95 

29.86 

29.892 

N.E. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

12 

30 

28.5 

29.50 

30.2 

29.80 

29.73 

29.769 

S.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy,  with  snow. 

13 

29 

15.5 

26.08 

29.2 

29.62 

29.41 

29.537 

W.S.W. 

Freshbreezes  and  cloudy, with  small  snow. 

14 

17 

9 

13.79 

28.3 

29.77 

29.57 

29.710 

WN. 

Strong  gales  and  squally. 

15 

21.5 

16 

18.92 

28.8 

29.80 

29.72 

29.762 

N.W.bW. 

Fresh  breezes  and  clear. 

16 

24 

17 

21.25 

29.5 

29.70 

29.57 

29.644 

W.N.W. 

Strong  breezes,— squalls  at  times 

17 

22 

16.5 

19.75 

29.2 

30.07 

29.72 

29.890 

W.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  squally. 

18 

29 

20 

23.67 

29.0 

30.00 

29.90 

29.950 

N.N.W.toS.W.b.W. 

Light  variable  breezes  and  cloudy. 

19 

25 

19 

29.83 

29.0 

29.75 

29.47 

29.617 

S.W. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  spow. 

20 

21 

10.5 

17.25 

29.46 

29.36 

29.412 

N.N.E. 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy. 

21 

19.5 

10 

15.83 

29.60 

29.43 

29.510 

North. 

Strong  gales  and  cloudy.                     . ,, ; 

22 

23 

17 

19.67 

29.62 

29.54 

29.580 

N.bW. 

Strong  breezes  and  squally.                  i ,  J? 

23 

23 

20 

•22.08 

29.S0 

29.66 

29.742 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

24 

24 

9 

20.25 

30.04 

29.80 

29.935. 

N.N.AV. 

Moderate  and  cloudy,  snow  at  times. 

25 

17 

7 

13.58 

30.14 

30.04 

30.100 

North. 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

26 

8 

-1 

5.00 

30.19 

30.17 

30.175 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  breezes  and  fine. 

27 

21 

+  5 

15.00 

30.14 

30.04 

30.092 

c  A.M.  N.N.W.  ? 
}  P.M.N.N.E.    ] 

Moderate  breezes  and  hazy. 

28 

23 

10 

17.33 

29.98 

29.88 

29.925 

N.N.E. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

29 

14 

8 

11.25 

29.82 

29.76 

29.787 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

30 

7 

4 

5.92 

29.3 

29.87 

29.70 

29.788 

North. 

Strong  breezes,  with  snow  at  times. 

^-37 

-1 

+  22.54 

30.42 

29.36 

29.905 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVEEY:  101 


CHAPTER  V. 


PRECAUTIONS     FOR     SECURING     THE    SHIPS     AND    STORES FOR     PROMOTING 

GOOD     ORDER,    CLEANLINESS,     HEALTH,    AND    GOOD-HUMOUR,    AMONG     THE 

ships'      COMPANIES  ESTABLISHMENT      OF      A      THEATRE,      AND      OF      THE 

NORTH    GEORGIA    GAZETTE ERECTION     OF     AN    OBSERVATORY    ON    SHORE 

COMMENCE  OUR  WINTEr's  AMUSEMENTS — STATE  OF  THE  TEMPERATURE 
AND  VARIOUS  METEOROLOGICAL  PHENOMENA — MISCELLANEOUS  OCCUR- 
RENCES   TO    THE    CLOSE   OF    THE    YEAR    1819. 

XTAVING  now  reached  the  station,  where,  in  all  probability,  we  were  1819. 
destined  to  remain  for  at  least  eight  or  nine  months,  during  three  of  which  ^^^^1^" 
we  were  not  to  see  the  face  of  the  sun,  my  attention  was  immediately,  and 
imperiously,  called  to  various  important  duties ;  many  of  them  of  a  singular 
nature,  such  as  had,  for  the  first  time,  devolved  on  any  officer  in  His  Majesty's 
navy,  and  might  indeed  be  considered  of  rare  occurrence  in  the  whole  history 
of  navigation.  The  security  of  the  ships,  and  the  preservation  of  the  various 
stores,  were  objects  of  immediate  concern.  A  regular  system  to  be  adopted 
for  the  maintenance  of  good  order  and  cleanliness,  as  most  conducive  to 
the  health  of  the  crews  during  the  long,  dark,  and  dreary  winter,  equally 
demanded  my  attention. 

Not  a  moment  was  lost,  therefore,  in  the  commencement  of  our  operations. 
The  whole  of  the  masts  were  dismantled  except  the  lower  ones,  and  the 
Hecla's  main-top-mast,  the  latter  being  kept  fidded  for  the  purpose  of  occa- 
sionally hoisting  up  the  electrometer-chain,  to  try  the  effect  of  atmospherical 
electricity.  The  lower  yards  were  lashed  fore  and  aft  amidships,  at  a  suffi- 
cient height  to  support  the  planks  of  the  housing  intended  to  be  erected  over 
the  ships,  the  lower  ends  of  which  rested  on  the  gunwale ;  and  the  whole 
of  this  frame-work  was  afterwards  roofed  over  with  a  cloth,  composed  of 


103  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  wadding-tilt,  with  which  waggons  are  usually  covered  ;  and  thus  was  formed 
>,^,^-^'  a  comfortable  shelter  from  the  snow  and  wind.  The  boats,  spars,  running 
rigging,  and  sails,  were  removed  on  shore,  in  order  to  give  as  much  room  as 
possible  on  our  upper  deck,  to  enable  the  people  to  take  exercise  on  board, 
whenever  the  weather  should  be  too  inclement  for  walking  on  shore.  It  was 
absolutely  necessary,  also,  for  the  preservation  of  our  sails  and  ropes  all  of 
which  were  hard-frozen,  that  they  should  be  kept  in  that  state  till  the  return 
of  spring;  for,  as  it  was  now  impossible  to  get  them  dried,  owing  to 
the  constantly  low  temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  they  would,  probably, 
have  soon  rotted  had  they  been  kept  in  any  part  of  the  ships,  where  the 
warmth  would  occasion  them  to  thaw  ;  they  were,  therefore,  placed  with  the 
boats  on  shore,  and  a  covering  of  canvass  fixed  over  them.  This  covering, 
however,  as  we  afterwards  found,  might  better  have  been  dispensed  with ; 
for  as  we  had  not  the  means  of  constructing  a  roof  sufficiently  tight  to  keep 
out  the  fine  snow  which  fell  during  the  winter,  it  only  served,  by  the  eddy 
wind  which  it  created,  to  make  the  drift  about  it  greater;  and,  I  have 
now  no  doubt  that,  with  stores  in  the  state  in  which  I  have  described  our 
sails  to  be,  it  would  be  better  simply  to  lay  them  on  some  spars  to  keep 
them  off  the  ground,  allowing  the  snow  to  cover  them  as  it  fell.  For  want  of 
experience  in  these  matters,  we  also  took  a  great  deal  of  unnecessary  trouble 
in  carrying  the  anchors  over  the  ice  to  the  beach,  with  an  idea  of  securing 
the  ships  to  the  shore  at  the  breaking  up  of  the  ice  in  the  spring  ;  a  precau- 
tion for  which  there  was  not  the  smallest  occasion,  and  by  which  the  cables 
suflfered  unnecessary  exposure  during  the  winter. 

As  soon  as  the  ships  were  secured  and  housed  over,  my  undivided  attention 
was  in  the  next  place  directed  to  the  comfort  of  the  officers  and  men,  and  to 
the  preservation  of  that  extraordinary  degree  of  health  which  we  had  hitherto 
enjoyed  in  both  ships.  A  few  brief  remarks  on  this  subject  by  Mr.  Edwards, 
(to  whose  skill  and  advice,  as  well  as  humane  and  unremitting  attention 
to  the  few  sick,  on  all  occasions,  I  am  much  indebted,)  I  need  make  no 
apology  for  offering,  in  his  own  words : — "  On  our  arrival  in  our  winter  quar- 
ters, after  a  season  sufficiently  harassing  both  to  officers,  and  men,  it  was 
pleasing  to  reflect  on  the  excellent  health  they  had  experienced  throughout. 
On  our  passage  across  the  Atlantic,  indeed,  a  few  ephemeral  complaints, 
arising  from  wet  and  cold,  appeared  among  the  men,  but  these  were  so 
slight  as  to  be  scarcely  worthy  of  notice  ;  and,  since  our  arrival  within  the 
Polar  circle,  a  period  of  between  two  and  three  months,  not  a  single  medical 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  103 

case  had  been  entered  on  the  sick  list.  To  this  favourable  account,  18 19- 
one  exception,  however,  must  be  made  in  the  case  of  Lieutenant 
Liddon,  who  had  suffered  severely  from  an  attack  of  rheumatism  shortly 
after  our  leaving  England,  from  which  he  had  not  yet  recovered. 
With  regard  to  accidents,  we  had  been  no  less  fortunate  ;  a  few  injuries  from 
frost,  and  one  from  a  burn  by  gunpowder,  which  had  not  yet  recovered, 
but  which  proved  only  of  temporary  inconvenience,  constituting  all  the  cases 
of  this  nature  which  had  hitherto  occurred.  Not  the  slightest  disposition  to 
scurvy,  the  disease  most  to  be  apprehended  under  our  present  circumstances, 
had  yet  been  evinced  in  either  ship.  In  fact,  the  whole  of  the  officers  and 
men,  with  the  few  exceptions  above  mentioned,  might  be  said  to  exhibit 
the  finest  aspect  of  health  ;  and  it  was  no  less  gratifying  to  observe,  that 
their  spirits  were  in  perfect  unison  with  their  corporeal  powers  ;  so  that  it 
was  impossible  not  to  consider  them  as  effective  as  at  the  commencement  of 
the  voyage.  Under  these  co-existing  circumstances,  combined  with  the 
powerful  preventives  with  which  we  were  furnished,  it  was  not  unreasonable 
to  indulge  in  a  confident  hope  of  finding  ourselves  at  the  beginning  of  the 
next  season  with  our  numbers  undiminished,  and  our  energies  unim- 
paired." 

In  order  to  prolong  this  healthy  state  of  the  crews,  and  to  promote  the 
comfort  of  all,  such  arrangements  were  made  for  the  warmth  and  dryness 
of  the  births  and  bed-places,  as  circumstances  appeared  to  require  ;  and 
in  this  respect  some  difficulties  were  to  be  overcome,  which  could  not, 
perhaps,  have  been  anticipated.  Soon  after  our  arrival  in  Winter  Harbour, 
when  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  had  fallen  considerably  below 
zero  of  Fahrenheit,  we  found  that  the  steam  from  the  coppers,  as  well  as 
the  breath  and  other  vapour  generated  in  the  inhabited  parts  of  the  ship, 
began  to  condense  into  drops  upon  the  beams  and  the  sides,  to  such  a 
degree  as  to  keep  them  constantly  wet.  In  order  to  remove  this  serious 
evil,  it  was  necessary  to  adopt  such  means  for  producing  a  sufficient  warmth, 
combined  with  due  ventilation,  as  might  carry  off  the  vapour,  and  thus 
prevent  its  settling  on  any  part  of  the  ship.  For  this  purpose  a  large  stone 
oven,  cased  with  cast  iron,  in  which  all  our  bread  was  baked  during  the 
winter  was  placed  on  the  main-hatchway,  and  the  stove-pipe  led  fore  and 
aft  on  one  side  of  the  lower  deck,  the  smoke  being  thus  carried  up  the 
fore-hatchway.  On  the  opposite  side  of  the  deck,  an  apparatus  had  been  at- 
tached to  the  galley-range,  for  conveying  a  current  of  heated  air  between 


104  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  decks.  This  apparatus  simply  consisted  of  an  iron  box  or  air-vessel  about 
v^^-^'  fifteen  inches  square,  through  which  passed  three  pipes,  of  two  inches 
diameter,  communicating  from  below  with  the  external  air,  and  uniting 
above  in  a  metal  box  fixed  to  the  side  of  the  galley-range ;  to  this  box  a 
copper  stove  pipe  was  attached,  and  conveyed  to  the  middle  part  of  the  lower 
deck.  When  a  fire  was  made  under  the  air-vessel,  the  air  became  heated  in 
its  passage  through  the  three  pipes,  from  which  it  was  conveyed  through 
the  stove-pipe  to  the  men's  births.  While  this  apparatus  was  in  good  orderjc* 
a  moderate  fire  produced  a  current  of  air  of  the  temperature  of  87°,  at  the 
distance  of  seventeen  feet  from  the  fire-place ;  and,  with  a  pipe  of  wood,  or 
any  other  imperfect  conductor  of  heat,  which  would  not  allow  of  its  escaping 
by  the  way,  it  might  undoubtedly  be  carried  to  a  much  greater  distance. 
By  these  means  we  were  enabled  to  get  rid  of  the  moisture  about  the  births 
where  the  people  messed  ;  but  when  the  weather  became  more  severely  cold, 
it  still  accumulated  in  the  bed-places  occasionally  to  a  serious  and  very  alarm- 
ing degree.  Among  the  means  employed  to  prevent  the  injurious  effects 
arising  from  this  annoyance,  one  of  the  most  efficacious  perhaps  was  a 
screen  made  of  fear-nought  fixed  to  the  beams  round  the  galley,  and  dropping 
within  eighteen  inches  of  the  deck,  which  served  to  intercept  the  steam  from 
the  coppers,  and  prevent  it  as  before  from  curling  along  the  beams,  and  con- 
densing upon  them  into  drops.  This  screen  was  especially  useful  at  the  time 
of  drawing  off"  the  beer,  which  we  had  lately  been  in  the  habit  of  brewing 
from  essence  of  malt  and  hops,  and  which  continued  to  be  served  for  several 
weeks  as  a  substitute  for  part  of  the  usual  allowance  of  spirits.  We  found 
the  steam  arising  from  this  process  so  annoying  during  the  cold  weather, 
that,  valuable  as  the  beer  must  be  considered  as  an  antiscorbutic  beverage, 
it  was  deemed  advisable  to  discontinue  our  brewery  on  that  account.  While 
on  this  subject,  I  may  also  add  that,  when  the  weather  became  severely 
cold,  we  could  not  get  the  beer  to  ferment,  so  as  to  make  it  palatable. 

For  the  preservation  of  health,  and  as  a  necessary  measure  of  economy, 
a  few  alterations  were  made  in  the  quantity  and  quality  of  the  provisions 
issued.  I  directed  the  allowance  of  bread  to  be  permanently  reduced  to 
two-thirds,  a  precaution  which,  perhaps,  it  would  have  been  as  well  to  have 
adopted  from  the  commencement  of  the  voyage.  A  pound  of  Donkin's  pre- 
served meat,  together  with  one  pint  of  vegetable  or  concentrated  soup  per 
man,  was  substituted  for  one  pound  of  salt  beef  weekly;  a  proportion  of 
beer  and  wine  was  served  in  lieu  of  spirits ;  and  a  small  quantity  of  sour 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  105 

krout  and  pickles,  with  as  much  vinegar  as  could  be  used,  was  issued  at  1819. 
regular  intervals.  The  daily  proportion  of  lime-juice  and  sugar  was  mixed  \J,°^ 
together,  and,  with  a  proper  quantity  of  water,  Avas  drank  by  each  man  in 
presence  of  an  officer  appointed  to  attend  to  this  duty.  This  latter  pre- 
caution may  appear  to  have  been  unnecessary,  to  those  who  are  not  aware 
how  much  sailors  resemble  children  in  all  those  points  in  which  their  own 
health  and  comfort  are  concerned.  Whenever  any  game  was  procured,  it 
was  directed  to  be  invariably  served  in  lieu  of,  and  not  in  addition  to, 
the  established  allowance  of  other  meat,  except  in  a  few  extraordinary 
cases,  when  such  an  indulgence  was  allowed;  and  in  no  one  instance, 
either  in  quantity  or  quality,  was  the  slightest  preference  given  to  the 
officers. 

In  the  article  of  fuel,  which  is  of  such  vital  importance  in  so  severe  a 
climate,  a  system  of  the  most  rigid  economy  was  adopted  ;  such  a  quantity  of 
coal  only  being  expended  as  was  barely  sufficient  for  the  preservation  of 
health  on  board  the  ships.  A  search  was  made  for  turf  or  moss  immediately 
after  our  arrival,  and  a  small  quantity  of  the  latter  was  made  use  of  as 
fuel ;  but,  without  a  previous  drying,  which,  from  the  advanced  period  of  the 
season,  we  had  no  means  of  giving  it,  it  was  found  to  be  too  wet  to  produce 
any  ^saving  of  coals.  We  also  looked  out  most  anxiously  for  a  vein  of  coal 
on  shore,  but  only  a  few  lumps  were  picked  up  during  our  stay  in  Winter 
Harbour. 

Great  attention  was  paid  to  the  clothing  of  the  men,  who  were  put  into  a 
certain  number  of  divisions,  according  to  the  usual  custom  of  the  navy,  each 
division  being  under  the  command  of  an  officer,  who  was  responsible  for  the 
personal  cleanliness  of  the  men  intrusted  to  his  charge,  as  well  as  for  their 
keeping  their  clothes  at  all  times  mended  and  in  good  condition.  The  men 
were  regularly  mustered  for  inspection  morning  and  evening,  at  which  times 
I  always  visited  every  part  of  the  between-decks,  accompanied  by  Lieut. 
Beechey  and  Mr.  Edwards ;  and  one  day  in  the  week  was  appointed  for  the 
examination  of  the  men's  shins  and  gums  by  the  medical  gentlemen,  in  order 
that  any  slight  appearance  of  the  scurvy  might  at  once  be  detected,  and 
checked  by  timely  and  adequate  means. 

It  was  my  intention  to  have  caused  the  bedding  of  the  ships'  coh^panies  to 
be  brought  on  deck,  for  the  purpose  of  airing,  at  least  once  a  week  durino-  the 
winter  ;  but  here,  also,  a  difficulty  occurred,  which,  without  previous  ex- 
perience, could  not  perhaps   have    been   easily   anticipated.     Whenever   a 


106  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  blanket  was  brought  on  deck,  and  suffered  to  remain  there  for  a  short  time, 
^°  ^^'  it  of  course  acquired  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere.  When  this  hap- 
pened to  be  rather  low,  under  zero  of  Fahrenheit  for  instance,  the  im- 
mediate consequence,  on  taking  the  blanket  again  into  the  inhabited 
parts  of  the  ship  was,  that  the  vapour  settled  and  condensed  upon  it, 
rendering  it  almost  instantly  so  wet,  as  to  be  unfit  to  sleep  on,  and  requiring, 
therefore,  after  all,  that  it  should  be  dried  by  artificial  heat  before  it  could 
be  returned  into  the  bed-place.  W^e  were,  therefore,  under  the  necessity 
of  hanging  the  bedding  upon  lines  between  decks,  as  the  only  mode  of 
airing  it;  and  what  was  likely  to  prove  still  more  prejudicial,  we  were 
obliged  to  have  recourse  to  the  same  unhealthy  measure  in  drying  the  washed 
clothes. 

Under  circumstances  of  leisure  and  inactivity,  such  as  we  were  now  placed 
in,  and  with  every  prospect  of  its  continuance  for  a  very  large  portion  of  a 
year,  I  was  desirous  of  finding  some  amusement  for  the  men  during  this 
long  and  tedious  interval.  I  proposed,  therefore,  to  the  officers  to  get  up  a 
Play  occasionally  on  board  the  Hecla,  as  the  readiest  means  of  preserving 
among  our  crews  that  cheerfulness  and  good-humour  which  had  hitherto 
subsisted.  In  this  proposal  I  was  readily  seconded  by  the  officers  of 
both  ships  ;  and  Lieutenant  Beechey  having  been  duly  elected  as  stage- 
manager,  our  first  performance  was  fixed  for  the  5th  of  November,  to  the 
great  delight  of  the  ship's  companies.  In  these  amusements  I  gladly  under- 
took a  part  myself,  considering  that  an  example  of  cheerfulness,  by  giving  a 
direct  countenance  to  every  thing  that  could  contribute  to  it,  was  not  the  least 
essential  part  of  my  duty,  under  the  peculiar  circumstances  in  which  we  were 
placed. 

In  order  still  further  to  promote  good-humour  among  ourselves,  as  well  as 
to  furnish  aniusing  occupation,  during  the  hours  of  constant  darkness,  we  set 
on  foot  a  weekly  newspaper,  which  was  to  be  called  the  North  Georgia 
Gazette  and  Winter  Chronicle,  and  of  which  Captain  Sabine  undertook  to  be  the 
editor,  under  the  promise  that  it  was  to  be  supported  by  original  contributions 
from  the  officers  of  the  two  ships :  aad,  though  some  objection  may,  perhaps, 
be  raised  against  a  paper  of  this  kind  being  generally  resorted  to  in  ships  of 
war,  I  was  too  well  acquainted  with  the  discretion,  as  well  as  the  excellent 
dispositions  of  my  officers,  to  apprehend  any  unpleasant  consequences  from  a 
measure  of  this  kind ;  instead  of  which  I  can  safely  say,  that  the  weekly  con- 
tributions had  the  happy  effect  of  employing  the  leisure  hours  of  those  who 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  107 

furnished  them,  and  of  diverting  the  mind  from  the  gloomy  prospect  which    1819. 
would  sometimes  obtrude  itself  on  the  stoutest  heart.  October. 

Immediately  on  our  arrival  in  harbour,  Captain  Sabine  had  employed 
himself  in  selecting  a  place  for  the  observatory,  which  was  erected  in  a  con- 
venient spot,  about  seven  hundred  yards  to  the  westward  of  the  ships.  It 
was  also  considered  advisable  immediately  to  set  about  building  a  house 
near  the  beach,  for  the  reception  of  the  clocks  and  instruments.  For  this 
purpose  we  made  use  of  a  quantity  of  fir-plank,  which  was  intended  for  the 
construction  of  spare  boats,  and  which  was  so  cut  as  not  to  injure  it  for  that 
purpose.  The  ground  was  so  hard  frozen  that  it  required  great  labour  to 
dig  holes  for  the  upright  posts  which  formed  the  support  of  the  sides.  The 
walls  of  this  house  being  double,  with  moss  placed  between  the  two,  a  high 
temperature  could,  even  in  the  severest  weather  which  we  might  be  doomed 
to  experience,  be  kept  up  in  it  without  difficulty  by  a  single  stove. 

Among  the  many  fortunate  circumstances  which  had  attended  us  during 
this  first  season  of  our  navigation,  there  was  none  more  striking  than  the 
opportune  time  at  which  the  ships  were  securely  placed  in  harbour ;  for  on 
the  very  night  of  our  arrival,  the  26th  of  September,  the  thermometer  fell 
to  —  1° ;  and,  on  the  following  day,  the  sea  was  observed  from  the  hills 
to  be  quite  frozen  over,  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach ;  nor  was  any  open 
water  seen  after  this  period.  During  the  first  three  weeks  in  October,  how- 
ever, we  remarked  that  the  young  ice,  near  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  was 
occasionally  squeezed  up  very  much  by  the  larger  floes,  so  that  the  latter 
must  still  have  had  some  space  left,  in  which  to  acquire  motion  :  but  after 
that  time  the  sea  was  entirely  covered  with  one  uniform  surface  of  solid  and 
motionless  ice. 

After  our  arrival  in  port,  we  saw  several  rein-deer,  and  a  few  coveys  of 
grouse  ;  but  the  country  is  so  destitute  of  every  thing  like  cover  of  any  kind, 
that  our  sportsmen  were  not  successful  in  their  hunting  excursions,  and  we 
procured  only  three  rein-deer,  previously  to  the  migration  of  these  and  the 
other  animals  from  the  island,  which  took  place  before  the  close  of  the  month 
of  October,  leaving  only  the  wolves  and  foxes  to  bear  us  company  during 
the  winter.  The  full-grown  deer,  which  we  killed  in  the  autumn,  gave  us 
from  one  hundred  and  twenty  to  one  hundred  and  seventy  pounds  of  meat 
each,  and  a  fawn  weighed  eighty-four  pounds. 

On  the  1st  of  October,  Captain  Sabine's  servant  having  been  at  some  dis- 
tance  from  the  ships,   to  examine  a  fox-trap,  was  pursued  by  a  large  white 


108  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

bear,  which  followed  his  footsteps  the  whole  way  to  the  ships,  where  he  was 
wounded  by  several  balls,  but  made  his  escape  after  all.  This  bear,  which 
was  the  only  one  we  saw  during  our  stay  in  Winter  Harbour,  was  observed 
to  be  more  purely  white  than  any  we  had  before  seen,  the  colour  of  these 
animals  being  generally  that  of  a  dirtyish  yellow,  when  contrasted  with  the 
whiteness  of  the  ice  and  snow. 

On  the  night  of  the  4th,  we  had  a  strong  gale  from  the  southward,  which 
gave  us  a  satisfactory  proof  of  the  security  of  the  harbour  we  had  chosen, 
for  the  main  ice  was  found  in  the  morning  to  have  pressed  in  very  forcibly 
upon  that  which  Avas  newly  formed  near  the  entrance,  while  within  the 
two  points  of  the  harbour,  it  remained  perfectly  solid  and  undisturbed. 
Some  deer  being  seen  near  the  ships  on  the  10th,  a  party  was  despatched 
after  them,  some  of  whom  having  wounded  a  stag,  and  being  led  on  by  the 
ardour  of  pursuit,  forgot  my  order  that  every  person  should  be  on-board 
before  sun-set,  and  did  not  return  till  late,  after  we  had  suffered  much  ap- 
prehension on  their  account.  I,  therefore,  directed  that  the  expense  of  all 
rockets  and  other  signals  made  in  such  cases,  should,  in  future,  be  charged 
against  the  wages  of  the  offending  party.  John  Pearson,  a  marine  belonging  to 
the  Griper,  who  was  the  last  that  returned  on  board,  had  his  hands  severely 
frost-bitten,  having  imprudently  gone  away  without  mittens,  and  with  a 
musket  in  his  hand.  A  party  of  our  people  most  providentially  found  him, 
although  the  night  was  very  dark,  just  as  he  had  fallen  down  a  steep  bank 
of  snow,  and  was  beginning  to  feel  that  degree  of  torpor  and  drowsi- 
ness which,  if  indulged,  inevitably  proves  fatal.  W^hen  he  was  brought  on 
board,  his  fingers  were  quite  stiff,  and  bent  into  the  shape  of  that  part  of  the 
musket  which  he  had  been  carrying :  and  the  frost  had  so  far  destroyed  the 
animation  in  his  fingers  on  one  hand,  that  it  was  necessary  to  amputate  three 
of  them  a  short  time  after,  notwithstanding  all  the  care  and  attention  paid  to 
him  by  the  medical  gentlemen.  The  effect  which  exposure  to  severe  frost 
has,  in  benumbing  the  mental  as  well  as  the  corporeal  faculties,  was  very 
striking  in  this  man,  as  well  as  in  two  of  the  young  gentlemen  who  returned 
after  dark,  and  of  whom  we  were  anxious  to  make  inquiries  respecting 
Pearson.  When  I  sent  for  them  into  my  cabin,  they  looked  wild,  spoke 
thick  and  indistinctly,  and  it  was  impossible  to  draw  from  them  a  rational 
answer  to  any  of  our  questions.  After  being  on  board  for  a  short  time,  the 
mental  faculties  appeared  gradually  to  return  with  the  returning  circulation, 
and  it  was  not  till  then  that  a  looker-on  could  easily  persuade  himself  that 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  109 

they  had  not  been  drinking  too  freely.  To  those  who  have  been  much  ac-  1819. 
customed  to  cold  countries  this  will  be  no  new  remark  ;  but  I  cannot  help  k.^-t^' 
thinking  (and  it  is  with  this  view  that  I  speak  of  it)  that  many  a  man  may  have 
been  punished  for  intoxication,  who  was  only  suffering  from  the  benumbing 
effects  of  frost ;  for  I  have  more  than  once  seen  our  people  in  a  state  so 
exactly  resembling  that  of  the  most  stupid  intoxication,  that  I  should  cer- 
tainly have  charged  them  with  that  offence,  had  I  not  been  quite  sure  that 
no  possible  means  were  afforded  them  on  Melville  Island,  to  procure 
any  thing  stronger  than  snow-water.  In  order  to  guard  in  some  measure 
against  the  danger  of  persons  losing  their  way,  which  was  more  and  more  to 
be  apprehended  as  the  days  became  shorter,  and  the  ground  more  covered 
with  snow,  which  gives  such  a  dreary  sameness  to  the  country,  we  erected 
on  all  the  hills  within  two  or  three  miles  of  the  harbour,  finger-posts  pointing 
towards  the  ships. 

I  have  before  remarked  that  all  the  water  which  we  made  use  of  while  within 
the  polar  circle,  was  procured  from  snow,  either  naturally  or  artificially  dis- 
solved. Soon  after  the  ships  were  laid  up  for  the  winter,  it  was  necessary  to 
have  recourse  entirely  to  the  latter  process,  which  added  materially  to  the 
expenditure  of  fuel  during  the  winter  months.  The  snow  for  this  purpose 
was  dug  out  of  the  drifts,  which  had  formed  upon  the  ice  round  the  ships, 
and  dissolved  in  the  coppers.  We  found  it  necessary  always  to  strain  the 
water  thus  procured,  on  account  of  the  sand  which  the  heavy  snow-drifts 
brought  from  the  island,  after  which  it  was  quite  pure  and  wholesome. 

On   the   evening  of  the  13th,   the  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  very  faintly,  Wed.  13. 
consisting  of  a  stationary  white  light  in  the  south-west  quarter,  and  near  the 
horizon. 

On  the  15th,  we  saw  the  last  covey  of  ptarmigan  which  were  met  with  Frid.  15. 
this  season.  On  the  same  day  our  people  fell  in  with  a  herd  of  fifteen  deer 
to  the  southward  ;  they  were  all  lying  down  at  first,  except  one  large  one, 
probably  a  stag,  which  afterwards  seemed  to  guard  the  rest  in  their  flight, 
going  frequently  round  them,  and  sometimes  striking  them  with  his  horns 
to  make  them  go  on,  which  otherwise  they  did  not  seem  much  inclined  to  do. 

On  the   16th,   it  blew  a  strong  gale  from  the  northward,  accompanied  by  Sat.  16, 
such  a  constant  snow-drift,   that  although  the  weather  was  quite  clear  over- 
head,  the   boat-house,  at  the  distance  of  three  or  four  hundred  yards,  could 
scarcely   be   seen  from  the  ships.     On  such  occasions,  no  person  was  per- 
mitted on  any  account  to  leave  the  ships.      Indeed,  when  this  snow-drift 


110  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

occurred,  as  it  frequently  did  during  the  winter,  with  a  hard  gale,  and  the 
thermometer  very  low,  I  believe  that  no  human  being  could  have  remained 
alive  after  an  hour's  exposure  to  it.  In  order,  therefore,  to  secure  a  com- 
munication between  the  ships,  a  distance  not  exceeding  half  a  cable's  length, 
as  well  as  from  the  ships  to  the  house  on  shore,  a  line  Avas  kept  extended, 
as  a  guide  from  one  to  the  other.  About  the  middle  of  October  the  snow 
began  to  fall  in  smaller  flakes  than  during  the  summer;  and  soon  after 
this,  whenever  it  fell,  it  consisted  entirely  of  very  minute  spicules,  assuming 
various  forms  of  crystallization.  The  meridian  altitude  of  the  sun  was 
observed  this  day  by  an  artificial  horizon,  which  I  notice  from  the  circum- 
stance of  its  being  the  last  time  we  had  an  opportunity  of  observing  it  for 
about  four  months. 

17  &  18.  On  the  17th  and  18th,  our  hunting  parties  reported  that  the  deer  were 
more  numerous  than  they  had  been  before,  which  made  us  conclude,  that  they 
were  assembling  their  forces  for  an  immediate  departure  over  the  ice  to  the 
continent  of  America,  as  we  only  saw  one  or  two  on  the  island  after  this 
time.  They  had  been  met  with,  since  taking  up  our  quarters,  in  herds  of 
from  eight  to  twenty,  and  from  forty  to  fifty  were  seen  in  the  course  of 
one  day.     A  thermometer  placed  in  the  sun  at  noon,  on  the  18th,  rose  only 

Tues.  19.  to  —  9°,  the  temperature  in  the  shade  being  —  16°. 

It  had  for  some  time  past  been  a  matter  of  serious  consideration  with  me^ 
whether  it  would  be  necessary  to  cut  the  ice  round  the  ships,  which  had 
by  this  time  become  so  firmly  attached  to  the  bends,  that  they  were 
completely  imbedded  in  it.  There  happened  to  be  only  two  or  three  persons 
in  the  expedition,  who  had  ever  been  frozen  up  during  a  whole  winter 
in  any  of  the  cold  countries,  and  I  consulted  these  as  to  the  expediency  of 
doing  so.  This  precaution,  it  would  seem,  is  considered  to  be  necessary, 
from  the  possibility  of  a  ship  being  hung  by  the  ice  attached  to  her  bends, 
and  thus  prevented  from  rising  and  falling  with  the  tide  ;  in  consequence 
of  which,  a  plank  might  easily  be  torn  out  near  the  water-line,  by  the 
weight  of  the  ship  hanging  entirely  on  that  particular  part.  I  was  re- 
lieved from  any  apprehension  on  this  score,  however,  by  knowing  how  small 
the  rise  and  fall  of  the  tides  were  in  this  place ;  and  also  by  having  observed 
that  a  spring-tide  caused  the  whole  mass  of  ice  in  the  harbour  to  detach 
itself  from  the  beach,  along  the  whole  line  of  which  it  split,  and  was 
'  lifted  ;  so  that  both  ships  and  ice  arose  and  fell  in  a  body  with  the  tide.  The 
only  question,  therefore,   that  remained,  was,  whether  the  lateral  expansion 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  Ill 

of  the  ice  might  not  create  such  a  pressure  upon  the  water-line  of  the  1819. 
ships  as  to  do  them  some  damage.  This  apprehension  was  rather  increased  v.^^^' 
by  Lieutenant  Liddon's  having  reported  to  me,  that  his  officers  had,  a 
night  or  two  before,  heard  a  loud  crack  about  the  Griper's  bends,  which 
gave  them  the  idea  of  something  straining  or  giving  way.  This  noise, 
however,  wliich  occurred  very  frequently  afterwards,  as  the  cold  became 
more  intense,  proved  to  be  nothing  more  than  that  which  is  not  unusually 
heard  in  houses  in  cold  countries,  being  occasioned  by  the  freezing  and 
expansion  of  the  juices  contained  in  wood  not  thoroughly  seasoned.  To 
put  the  matter  out  of  all  doubt,  however,  I  deemed  it  prudent  to  order  the 
ice  to  be  cut  round  both  ships,  an  operation  which  occupied  the"  two  crews 
almost  the  whole  of  two  days,  the  ice  being  now  twenty-three  inches  in 
thickness ;  and  I  determined  to  continue  this  operation  daily,  as  long  as  the 
weather  would  permit. 

The  20th  of  October  was  one  of  the  finest  days  which,  as  experience  has  Wed.  20. 
since  taught  us,  ever  occur  in  this  climate,  the  weather  being  clear,  with  little 
or  no  wind;  and,  though  the  thermometer  remained  steadily  between  — 15° 
and  — 16°  during  the  day,  it  was  rather  pleasant  to  our  feelings  than  otherwise. 
Our  sportsmen  were  out  from  both  ships  the  whole  day,  and  returned,  for 
the  first  time,  without  having  seen  any  living  animal,  though  they  had 
walked  over  a  very  considerable  extent  of  ground ;  so  that  the  hope  we  had 
indulged  of  obtaining,  occasionally,  a  fresh  meal,  was  now  nearly  at  an  end 
for  the  rest  of  the  winter.  It  was  observed  from  the  hills,  that  the  ice  in 
the  offing  had  been  thrown  into  higher  hummocks  than  before ;  and  in  the 
morning  we  saw  a  number  of  little  vertical  streams  of  vapour  rising  from 
the  sea,  near  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  which  was  probably  that  pheno- 
menon vulgarly  called  the  "  barber,"  in  North  America,  and  which  is  oc- 
casioned, I  believe,  by  the  vapour  arising  from  the  water  being  condensed 
into  a  visible  form  by  the  coldness  of  the  atmosphere.  It  is  probable, 
therefore,  from  the  two  circumstances  now  mentioned,  that  a  motion  had 
taken  place  among  the  floes  in  the  offing,  producing  first  the  pressure  by 
which  the  hummocks  were  thrown  up,  and  then  a  partial  separation,  leaving 
for  a  time  a  small  space  of  unfrozen  surface. 

Between  six  and  eight  P.M.,  we  observed  the  Aurora  Borealis,  forming  a 
broad  arch  of  irregular  white  light,  extending  from  N.N.W.  to  S.S.E.,  the 
centre  of  the  arch  being  10°  to  the  eastward  of  the  zenith.  It  was  most 
bright  near  the  southern  horizon  ;  and  frequent,  but  not  vivid,  coruscations 


112  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

were  seen  shooting  from  its  upper  side,  towards  the  zenith.     The  magnetic 
needle  was  not  sensibly  affected  by  this  phenomenon. 

Thur.  21.  Between  two  and  three  P.M.  on  the  21st,  the  weather  being  still  remark- 
ably clear  and  fine,  and  the  sun  near  the  horizon,  a  parhelion  strongly  pris- 
matic was  seen  on  each  side  of  it,  at  the  distance  of  23°,  resembling  the  legs 
of  a  rainbow  resting  upon  the  land. 

Tues.  26.  On  the  26th,  the  sun  afforded  us  sufficient  light  for  writing  and  reading  in 
my  cabin,  the  stern-windows  exactly  facing  the  south,  from  half-past  nine 
till  half-past  two  ;  for  the  rest  of  the  four-and-twenty  hours  Ave  lived,  of 
course,  by  candle-light.  Nothing  could  exceed  the  beauty  of  the  sky  to  the 
south-east  and  south-west  at  sun-rise  and  sun-set  about  this  period :  near  the 
horizon  there  was  generally  a  rich  bluish  purple,  and  a  bright  arch  of  deep 
red  above,  the  one  mingling  imperceptibly  Avith  the  other.  The  weather 
about  this  time  was  remarkably  mild,  the  mercury  in  the  thermometer  having 
stood  at  or  above  zero  for  more  than  forty-eight  hours.  By  a  register  of  the 
temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  which  was  kept  by  Captain  Sabine  at  the  ob- 
servatory, it  Avas  found  that  the  thermometer,  invariably,  stood  at  least  from 
2°  to  5°,  and  even  on  one  or  two  occasions  as  much  as  7°  higher  on  the  outside 
of  the  ships,  than  it  did  on  shore,  owing  probably  to  a  warm  atmosphere, 
created  round  the  former  by  the  constant  fires  kept  up  on  board. 

Frid.  29.  On  the  29th  the  Aveatherwas  calm  and  clear,  and  Ave  remarked,  for  the  first 
time,  that  the  smoke  from  the  funnels  scarcely  rose  at  all,  but  skimmed  nearly 
horizontally  along  the  housing,  the  thermometer  having  got  down  to  — 24°*, 
and  the  mercury  in  the  barometer  standing  at  29.70  inches.  It  now  became 
rather  a  painful  experiment  to  touch  any  metallic  substance  in  the  open  air 
with  the  naked  hand ;  the  feeling  produced  by  it  exactly  resembling  that  oc- 
casioned by  the  opposite  extreme  of  intense  heat,  and  taking  off  the  skin 
from  the  part  affected.  W^e  found  it  necessary,  therefore,  to  use  great  caution 
in  handling  our  sextants  and  other  instruments,  particularly  the  eye-pieces  of 
the  telescopes,  which,  if  suffered  to  touch  the  face,  occasioned  an  intense 
burning  pain ;  but  this  was  easily  remedied  by  covering  them  over  with  soft 
leather.  Another  effect,  with  regard  to  the  use  of  instruments,  began  to  ap- 
pear about  this  time.     Whenever  any  instrument,  which  had  been  some  time 

*  By  a  Meteorological  Journal  in  my  possession,  kept  at  York  Fort,  Hudson's  Bay,  in 
the  year  1795,  it  appears  that  this  phenomenon  did  not  occur  till  the  thermometer  indi- 
cated a  temperature  of  ab  o  ut  36°.     The  height  of  the  barometer  is  not  mentioned. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  113 


exposed  to  the  atmosphere,  so  as  to  be  cooled  down  to  the  same  temperature,  1819. 
was  suddenly  brought  below  into  the  cabins,  the  vapour  was  instantly  con-  ^^!iS!/'" 
densed  all  around  it,  so  as  to  give  the  instrument  the  appearance  of  smoking, 
and  the  glasses  were  covered  almost  instantaneously  with  a  thin  coating  of  ice, 
the  removal  of  which  required  great  caution  to  prevent  the  risli  of  injuring  them 
until  it  had  gradually  thawed,  as  they  acquired  the  temperature  of  the  cabin. 
When  a  candle  was  placed  in  a  certain  direction  from  the  instrument,  with 
respect  to  the  observer,  a  number  of  very  minute  spicules  of  snow  were  also 
seen  sparkling  around  the  instrument,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  inches 
from  it,  occasioned,  as  we  supposed,  by  the  cold  atmosphere  produced  by  the 
low  temperature  of  the  instrument  almost  instantaneously  congealing  into  that 
form  the  vapour  which  floated  in  its  immediate  neighbourhood. 

The  month  of  November  commenced  with  mild  weather,  which  continued  Novemb. 
for  the  first  ten  days.  It  is  generally  supposed,  by  those  who  have  not  expe- 
rienced the  effects  produced  upon  the  feelings  by  the  various  alterations  in  the 
temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  when  the  thermometer  is  low,  that  a  change 
of  10°  or  15°  makes  no  sensible  difference  in  the  sensation  of  cold  ;  but  this  is 
by  no  means  the  case,  for  it  was  a  remark  continually  made  among  us,  that 
our  bodies  appeared  to  adapt  themselves  so  readily  to  the  climate,  that  the 
scale  of  our  feelings,  if  I  may  so  express  it,  was  soon  reduced  to  a  lower  stan- 
dard Aan  ordmary ;  so  that,  after  living  for  some  days  in  a  temperature  of 
-15°  or  -20°,  it  felt  quite  mild  and  comfortable  when  the  thermometer  rose 
to  zero,  and  vice  versa. 

The  4th  of  November  being  the  last  day  that  the  sun  would,  independently  Thurs.  4. 
of  the  effects  of  refraction,  be  seen  above  our  horizon  till  the  eighth  of  Fe- 
bruary, an  interval  of  ninety-six  days,  it  was  a  matter  of  considerable  regret 
to  us  that  the  weather  about  this  time  was  not  sufficiently  clear  to  allow  us  to 
see  and  make  observations  on  the  disappearance  of  that  lunnnary,  in  order 
that  something  might  be  attempted  towards  determining  the  amount  of 
the  atmospherical  refraction  at  a  low  temperature.  But  though  we  were  not 
permitted  to  take  a  last  farewell,  for  at  least  three  months,  of  that  cheering 
orb,  "  of  this  great  world,  both  eye  and  soul,"  we  nevertheless  felt  that  this 
day  constituted  an  important  and  memorable  epoch  in  our  voyage.  We  had, 
some  time  before,  set  about  the  preparations  for  our  winters  amusements  ;' 
and  the  theatre  being  ready,  we  opened  on  the  5th  of  November,  with  the  Frid.  5. 
representation  of  Miss  in  her  Teens,  which  afforded  to  the  men  such  a  fund  of 
amusement  as  fully  to  justify  the  expectations  we  had  formed  of  the  utility  of 

Q 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on 

joard  His  Majesty's   Ship   Hecla, 

at  Sea,  during  the  Month  of  October, 

1819. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prerailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

1 

+  9 

+  °6 

o 
+     6,83 

+ 

29?12 

inclies. 
29.89 

inclies. '   inches. 
29.82    29.860 

N.N.W.  to  S. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

2 

17.5 

9.5 

12.83 

28.87 

29.76 

29.73  ,  29.740 

S.S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

3 

10 

6 

8.75 

29.12 

29.77 

29.68 

29.750 

s.w. 

Light  breezes  with  small  snow. 

4 

16 

5 

9.83 

28.62 

29.59 

29.17 

29.390 

S.  Westerly 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  snow. 

5 

13 

-  7 

3.00 

28.00 

29.71 

29.10 

29,440 

N.W.bN. 

Strong  breezes  and  cloudy. 

6 

8 

-  8 

—     1.80 

28.00 

29.81 

29.50 

29.730 

Westerly. 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy  with  show. 

7 

15 

0 

+     6.10 

28.00 

29.26 

29.20 

29.225 

S.W. 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy. 

8 

1 

-  8.5 

+    3.75 

28.40 

30.00 

29.46 

29.805 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

9 

0 

—  5 

—    1.83 

28.00 

30.00 

29.93 

29.952 

West 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

10 

5 

-  3 

+     1.83 

28.00 

29.83 

29.68 

29.752 

S.S.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

11 

10 

+  2 

+     4.54 

28.00 

29.69 

29.60 

29.630 

West. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

12 

+  7 

—  8 

—    4.17 

28.00 

29.63 

29.44 

29.535 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

13 

+  10 

+  3 

+    7.60 

28.00 

29.57 

29.43 

29.490 

5     HalfE.S.E.      ) 
t      Half  West.      J 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

14 

+   5 

—  6 

—    2.50 

28.00 

30.00 

29.44 

29.710 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

15 

+  13 

0 

+    6.17 

28.00 

29.62 

29.30 

29.425 

f       Half  East.       7 
1      Half  North,      j 

Strong  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  snow. 

16 

—  1 

—12.5 

—    5.20 

27.50 

29.91 

29.49 

29.742 

N.b.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

17 

—10.5 

—16 

—  12.88 

28.00 

30.20 

29.93 

30.095 

North 

Moderate  and  fine  clear  weather. 

18 

—  2 

—14 

—    6.08 

28.00 

30.22 

30.18 

30.190 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

19 

—  7 

—14 

—  11.25 

27.62 

30.20 

29.98 

30.120 

West 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

20 

-13.5 

—17.5 

—  15.12 

27.62 

30.00 

29.93 

29.955 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

21 

—  7 

—14 

—  10.58 

28.00 

30.21 

30,00 

30.100 

Ditto. 

Ditto              ditto. 

22 

—  S 

—14 

—    6.92 

28.00 

30.32 

30.27 

30.300 

North 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

23 

+  6 

—  9 

+     0.12 

28.00 

30.13 

30.03 

30.070 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy,  with  drift  snow. 

24 

+    1 

-  6 

—    2.83 

28.25 

30.06 

30.01 

30.045 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

25 

+  5 

+  2 

+     3.71 

28.00 

30.16 

30.05 

30.112 

N.bW. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

26 

+ 

—  8 

—     1.08 

28.40 

30.11 

30.06 

30.090 

Ditto 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

27 

—  4 

—15 

-  10.25 

28.12 

30.02 

29.87 

29.955 

North 

Light  breezes  and  fine  clear  weather. 

28 

—17 

—23 

—  19.75 

23.00 

29.79 

29.72 

29.771 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

20 

—20 

—28 

—  24.25 

28.00 

29.73 

29.69 

29.710 

N.bW. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

30 

—25 

-27.5 

—  26.15 

]  28.00 

29.73 

29.70 

29.717 

Ditto 

Ditto              ditto. 

31 

—  4 

—28 

-  12.17 

28.00 

29.91 

29.70 

29.847 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy. 

+  17.5 

—28 

—    3.46 

28.114 

30.32 

29.10 

29.81 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  115 

theatrical  entertainments  under  our  present  circumstances,  and  to  determine  1819. 
me  to  follow  them  up  at  stated  periods.  I  found  indeed,  that  even  the  occu-  yj^y^^ ' 
pation  of  fitting  up  the  theatre,  and  taking  it  to  pieces  again,  which  employed 
a  number  of  the  men  for  a  day  or  two  before  and  after  each  performance,  was 
a  matter  of  no  little  importance,  when  the  immediate  duties  of  the  ship  ap- 
peared by  no  means  sufficient  for  that  purpose ;  for  I  dreaded  the  want  of 
employment  as  one  of  the  worst  evils  that  was  likely  to  befal  us. 

On  the  6th  we  tried  the  temperature  of  the  sea  at  the  bottom,  the  depth  Sat.  6. 
being  five  fathoms,  and  found  it  to  be  30°,  whilst  that  of  the  surface  was  28°, 
and  of  the  air— 16°.  On  tlie  9th,  the  temperature  of  the  bottom  was  as  high  Tues.  9. 
as  31°,  the  surface  being  still  at  28°.  The  specific  gravity  of  the  surface  water 
was  1.0264,  at  the  temperature  of  52°,  and  that  of  the  water  brought  from 
the  bottom  1.0265,  at  50°.  On  the  same  evening,  the  weather  being  fine  and 
clear,  the  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  for  nearly  two  hours,  forming  a  long,  low, 
irregular  arch  of  light,  extending  from  north  to  south  in  the  western  quarter 
of  the  heavens,  its  altitude  in  the  centre  being  3°  or  4°.  The  electrometer- 
chain  was  hoisted  up  to  the  mast-head,  and  its  lower  end  brought  down  to 
the  ice,  so  as  to  keep  it  perfectly  clear  of  all  the  masts  and  rigging,  which 
method  was  used  throughout  the  winter;  but  no  sensible  effect  was  produced 
on  the  gold-leaf.  It  was  tried  a  second  time,  after  the  sky  became  full  of 
white  fleecy  clouds,  but  with  as  little  success. 

On  the  forenoon  of  the  11th,  the  thermometer  having  again  fallen  to  — 26|°,  Thur.ll. 
the  smoke,  as  it  escaped  from  the  funnels,  scarcely  rose  at  all  above  the 
housing,  Mr.  Ross,  having  gone  to  the  mast-head  at  noon,  reported  that  he 
saw  the  sun.  There  was  no  time  for  measuring  the  altitude,  but  Lieutenant 
Beechey,  who  went  up  to  observe  it,  considered  that  about  twenty-four  mi- 
nutes of  its  disk  appeared  above  the  horizon,  according  to  which  the  amount  of 
refraction  would  appear  to  be  2°  09'  05".  The  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  at 
this  time  was  — 27°,  and  the  mercury  in  the  barometer  stood  at  30.07  inches. 
The  thermometer  having  fallen  to  — 31°  on  the  following  day,  we  expected  to  Frid.  U. 
have  seen  the  sun  again,  and  looked  out  from  the  mast-head  for  that  purpose,  but 
it  did  not  re-appear.  At  six  P.M.  the  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  in  a  broken 
irregular  arch,  about  6°  high  in  the  centre,  extending  from  N.W.  b.  N.  to 
S.  b.  W.,  from  whence  a  few  coruscations  Avere  now  and  then  faintly  emitted 
towards  the  zenith.  From  eight  P.M.  till  midnight  on  the  13th,  it  was  again  Sat.  13. 
seen  in  a  similar  manner  from  S.W.  to  S.E.,  the  brightest  part  being  in  the 
centre,  or  due  south.     On  the  15th,  Lieutenant  Beechey  informed  me  that 


ii^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    he  had  seen,  in  the  N.N.W.  and  S.E.  quarters,  some  light  transparent  clouds, 

v.,,-v^^  ■  from  which  columns  of  light  were  thrown  upwards,  resembling  the  Aurora 

Borealis ;  those  to  the  S.E.,  being  opposed  to  a  very  light  sky,  had  a  light-brown 

Tues.  16.  appearance.  This  phenomenon  was  again  observed  on  the  16th,  consisting  of 
a  bright  stationary  light  from  S.S.W.  to  S.  b.  E.,  and  reaching  from  the  horizon 
to  the  height  of  about  6°  above  it. 

About  the  time  of  the  sun's  leaving  us,  the  wolves  began  to  approach  the 
ships  more  boldly,  howling  most  piteously  on  the  beach  near  us,  sometimes 
for  hours  together,  and,  on  one  or  two  occasions,  coming  alongside  the  ships, 
when  every  thing  was  quiet  at  night ;  but  we  seldom  saw  more  than  one 
or  two  together,  and,  therefore,  could  form  no  idea  of  their  number. 
These  animals  were  always  very  shy  of  coming  near  our  people,  and,  though 
evidently  suffering  much  from  hunger,  never  attempted  to  attack  any  of  them. 
The  white  foxes  used  also  to  visit  the  ships  at  night,  and  one  of  these  {Cards 
Lagopus)  was  caught  in  a  trap,  set  under  the  Griper's  bows.  The  uneasiness 
displayed  by  this  beautiful  little  animal  during  the  time  of  his  confinement, 
whenever  he  heard  the  howling  of  a  wolf  near  the  ships,  impressed  us  with  an 
opinion,  that  the  latter  is  in  the  habit  of  hunting  the  fox  as  his  prey. 

Wed.  17.  The  rapidity  with  which  the  ice  formed  round  the  ships  had  now  become  so 
great,  as  to  employ  our  people  for  several  hours  each  day  in  cutting  it ;  and 
for  the  last  three  days  our  utmost  labour,  during  the  time  of  twilight,  could 
scarcely  keep  it  clear.  As  it  was  evident,  therefore,  that,  as  the  frost  in- 
creased, we  could  not  possibly  effect  this,  and  as  the  men  almost  always  got 
their  feet  wet  in  sawing  the  ice,  from  which  the  most  injurious  effects  upon 
their  health  were  likely  to  result,  I  gave  orders  to  leave  off  cutting  it  any 
more  during  the  severity  of  the  winter.  The  average  formation  of  ice  round 
the  ships,  during  the  time  we  continued  to  remove  it,  was  usually  from  three  to 
five  inches  in  twenty-four  hours  ;  and  once  it  froze  eight  inches  in  twenty-six 
hours,  the  mean  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  being— 12°.  At  noon  to-day 
we  saw,  for  the  first  time  at  this  hour,  a  star  of  the  first  magnitude  (Capella),  and 
at  half  an  hour  past  noon,  those  of  the  second  magnitude  in  Ursa  Major  were 
visible ;  which  circumstance  will,  perhaps,  give  the  best  idea  of  the  weakness  of 
the  sun's  light  at  this  period.  At  three  P.M.  a  remarkable  variety  of  the  Aurora 
Borealis  was  seen  by  several  of  the  officers.  Having  about  this  time  been 
confined  for  a  few  days  to  my  cabin  by  indisposition,  I  am  indebted  to  Lieu- 
tenant Beechey  for  the  following  description  of  it : — "  Clouds  of  a  light- 
brown  colour  were  seen,  diverging  from  a  point  near .  the  horizon  bearing 


J 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  117 

S.W.  b.  S.,  and  shooting  pencils  of  rays  upwards  at  an  angle  of  about  45°    1819. 
with  the  horizon.     These  rays,  however,  were  not  stationary  as  to  their  posi-    "^^"^ 


tion,  but  were  occasionally  extended  and  contracted.  From  behind  these,  as 
it  appeared  to  us,  flashes  of  white  light  were  repeatedly  seen,  which  some- 
times streamed  across  to  the  opposite  horizon,  some  passing  through  the 
zenith,  others  at  a  considerable  distance  on  each  side  of  it.  This  phenomenon 
continued  to  display  itself  brilliantly  for  half  an  hour,  and  then  became  gra- 
dually fainter  till  it  disappeared,  about  four  o'clock.  The  sun,  at  the  time  of 
the  first  appearance  of  this  meteor,  was  on  nearly  the  same  bearing,  and  about 
5°  below  the  horizon." 

The  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  having,  about  this  time,  become  con- Thur.  18. 
siderably  lower  than  before,  the  cracking  of  the  timbers  was  very  frequent 
and  loud  for  a  time  ;  but  generally  ceased  altogether  in  an  hour  or  two  after 
this  fall  had  taken  place  in  the  thermometer,  and  did  not  occur  again  at  the 
same  temperature  during  the  winter.  The  wind  blowing  fresh  from  the 
northward,  with  a  heavy  snow-drift,  made  the  ship  very  cold  below ;  so  that 
the  breath  and  other  vapour  accumulated  during  the  night  in  the  bed-places 
and  upon  the  beams,  and  then  immediately  froze  ;  hence  it  often  occupied  all 
hands  for  two  or  three  hours  during  the  day  to  scrape  the  ice  away,  in  order 
to  prevent  the  bedding  from  becoming  wet  by  the  increase  of  temperature 
occasioned  by  the  fires.  It  was  therefore  found  necessary  to  keep  some  of 
the  fires  in  between  decks  at  night,  when  the  thermometer  was  below  — 15° 
or  —20°  in  the  open  air,  especially  when  the  wind  was  high.  To  assist  in 
keeping  the  lower  decks  warm,  as  well  as  to  retard,  in  some  slight  degree, 
the  formation  of  ice  immediately  in  contact  with  the  ships'  bends,  we  banked 
the  snow  up  against  their  sides,  as  high  as  the  main-chains ;  and  canvass 
screens  were  nailed  round  all  the  hatchways  on  the  lower  deck. 

The  stars  of  the  second  magnitude  in  Ursa  Major  were  just  perceptible  to 
the  naked  eye  a  little  after  noon  this  day,  and  the  Aurora  Borealis  appeared 
faintly  in  the  south-west  at  night.  About  this  time  our  medical  gentlemen 
began  to  remark  the  extreme  difficulty  with  which  sores  of  every  kind  healed  ; 
a  circumstance  that  rendered  it  the  more  necessary  to  be  cautious  in  exposing 
the  men  to  frost-bites,  lest  the  long  inactivity  and  want  of  exercise  during  the 
cure  of  sores  in  other  respects  trifling,  should  produce  serious  effects  upon  the 
general  health  of  the  patients. 

From  midnight  on  the  20th,  till  two  o'clock  on  the  following  morning,  the  Sun.  2i. 
thermometer  rose  from  —46°  to  -401°,  and  at  half-past  three  a  gale  came 


lis  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  on  from  the  northward,  which  continued  to  blow,  and  the  thermometer  gra- 
v^i^^^'  dually  to  rise,  till  the  latter  had  reached  —21°  at  midnight.  This  was  one  of 
a  great  many  instances  which  occurred  during  the  winter,  of  an  increase  of 
wind,  from  whatever  quarter,  being  accompanied  by  a  simultaneous  rise  in  the 
thermometer.  The  gale  continued  strong  for  the  greater  part  of  the  two 
following  days,  with  a  tremendous  snow-drift,  which  kept  us  all  on  board  till 
the  afternoon  of  the  23d.  In  the  mean  time  another  play  had  been  prepared, 
and  our  second  performance,  to  which  the  crews  had  been  anxiously  looking 
forward,  took  place  on  the  evening  of  the  24th. 

The  temperature  of  the  ship's  holds,  at  this  time,  was  generally  from 
27°  to  34°,  the  aftermost  being  always  the  warmest,  and  a  considerable 
quantity  of  the  beer  was  found  frozen  in  the  casks.     The  thermometer  seldom 

Sun.  26  rose  higher  than  40°  on  the  lower  deck,  throughout  the  day.  On  the  26th  in 
the  morning,  some  vivid  coruscations  of  the  Aurora  Borealis  were  observed 
from  S.  to  N.W.,  commencing  at  4°  or  5°  of  altitude,  and  streaming  towards 
the  zenith. 

Early  in  the  afternoon  of  the  20th,  Captain  Sabine  observed  a  small  meteor 
fall  to  the  ground  in  the  W.  by  N.,  not  apparently  more  than  a  mile  distant. 
It  fell  slowly,  with  a  faint  white  light,  which  increased  considerably  as  it 
approached  the  earth.  When  first  seen,  its  height  was  about  8°  or  10°,  and 
the  descent  appeared  perpendicular,  or  nearly  so.  The  atmosphere  at  this 
time  was  remarkably  clear.  Soon  after  the  moon  rose  this  afternoon,  it  was 
curiously  deformed  by  refraction,  the  lower  edges  of  its  disk  appearing  in- 
dented with  deep  notches,  and  at  other  times  seeming  to  be  cut  off  square  at 
the  bottom.  A  single  ray,  or  rather  a  column  of  light,  of  the  same  diameter 
as  the  moon,  was  also  observed  to  descend  from  it  to  the  top  of  the  hill, 

29  &  30.  like  a  pillar  supporting  it.  On  this  and  the  two  following  nights,  we  were 
occupied  from  five  to  seven  hours  in  taking  lunar  distances  in  the  open  air, 
the  thermometer  being  from  —34°  to  —36°.  This  we  did  without  any  ma- 
terial inconvenience,  as  long  as  the  weather  continued  calm  or  nearly  so  ;  but 
with  a  moderate  breeze  it  soon  became  too  painful  to  handle  the  screws  of 
the  sextant.  The  difficulty  of  making  observations  in  this  climate  is  not, 
however,  confined  to  the  sensation  of  cold  produced  by  handling  the  instru- 
ments, or  by  standing  still  for  several  hours  together  at  so  Ioav  a  temperature  ; 
but  it  is  also  necessary  to  hold  the  breath  very  carefully  during  the  time  of 
making  the  observation  ;  for  if  the  least  vapour  be  suffered  to  touch  the  in- 
strument,   it  is    immediately  converted  into  a  coat  of   ice,   which    dims 


I 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  119 

the  glasses,  and  renders  the  instrument  unserviceable  till  the  ice  has  18lf). 
been  thawed,  and  the  instrument  thoroughly  cleaned.  Our  sextants  were  -.^^J^' 
somewhat  injured,  in  the  cold  weather,  by  the  cracking  of  the  silver  on  the 
horizon  and  index  glasses,  arising  as  we  supposed,  from  the  unequal  con- 
traction of  the  two  substances.  The  mercury  of  the  artificial  horizons  froze 
into  a  solid  mass  as  we  were  observing  the  moon's  altitude  in  it,  although 
the  themiometer  on  shore  indicated  only  —  36°.  This  was  probably  owing  to 
the  mercury  having  become  adulterated  by  admixture  with  the  lead  of  the 
troughs,  which  disposed  it  to  congeal  at  a  higher  temperature  than  the 
freezing  point  of  pure  mercury. 

At  half-past  six  P.M.,  on  the  1st  of  December,  part  of  a  circular  halo,  Decemb. 
whose  radius  was  22°  52',  was  observed  round  the  moon,  which  was  near  the 
full.  Part  of  a  well-defined  horizontal  circle  of  white  light,  passing  through 
the  moon,  extended  also  for  several  degrees  on  each  side  of  her,  and  in  the 
points  where  this  circle  intersected  the  halo,  were  two  prismatic  spots  of 
light,  or  paraselenae.  In  that  part  of  the  halo  which  was  immediately  over 
the  moon,  was  another  spot  much  brighter ;  and  opposite  to  it,  in  the  lower 
part  of  the  circle,  another  similar  but  much  more  faint.  About  the  same 
time,  on  the  following  evening,  two  concentric  circles  were  observed  round  Tlmr.  2. 
the  moon,  the  radius  of  the  smaller  being  38°,  and  of  the  larger  46°.  Upon 
the  inner  circle  were  four  paraselenae,  strongly  prismatic,  situated  with  re- 
spect to  the  moon  as  on  the  preceding  day ;  and  there  was  also  a  faint  ho- 
rizontal circle  of  white  light,  passing  through  the  moon  as  before.  The  weather 
was  fine  in  both  these  instances,  but  there  was  still  a  sort  of  haziness  in  the 
atmosphere  which  prevented  the  heavenly  bodies  being  very  distinctly  seen. 

On  the  10th,  at  two  P.M.,  Captain  Sabine  observed  a  small  meteor  fall  in  Frid.  10. 
the  direction  of  N.N.W.  from  the  ships,  similar  in  character  and  appearance 
to  that  seen  on  the  28th  of  November,  except  that  the  light  was  not  so  vivid, 
and  it  was  extinguished,  instead  of  burning  more  fiercely,  before  it  reached 
the  earth.  About  this  time  we  were  a  good  deal  annoyed  for  some  days 
together  by  the  thermometer  continuing  higher  than  usual,  the  wind  being 
from  the  E.S.E.,  which  caused  a  considerable  degree  of  dampness  between 
decks,  in  consequence  of  the  ice  thawing  in  every  crevice  where  it  could  not 
readily  be  removed  in  any  other  way.  This  annoyance  could  only  be  got  rid 
of  by  constant  wiping,  and  by  increasing  the  fires  for  the  time  :  but,  when 
the  thermometer  fell  to  15°  or  20°  below  zero,  it  again  became  solid,  and 
ceased  to  be  an  inconvenience. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla 

during  the  Mo 

1th  o{  November,  I8I9. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 
mnm. 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini. 

Mean. 

1 

+  2° 

-3° 

-  1?00 

+ 
o 

28 

iocbes. 
29.89 

inches. 
29.81 

inches. 
29.870 

f          North           1 
1         N.N.W.         ) 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 
Moderate  and  hazy. 

2 

+  5 

0 

+  3.25 

29.5 

29.90 

29.81 

29.865 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

3 

+  6 

0 

+  3.92 

30.02 

29.93 

29.975 

N.b.W. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

4 

+  6 

+ 

+  5.50 

30.17 

30.07 

30.120 

(    N.E. round  by    t 
\    West  to  S.S.E.    i 

Ditto                 ditto. 

5 

+  6 

-7 

-  0.67 

29 

30.30 

30.21 

30.272 

North 

Ditto.                  Ditto 

6 

-8 

-18 

-14.08 

28 

30.32 

30.27 

30.298 

North 

Moderate  and  fine. 

7 

-6.5 

-16 

-11.12 

30 

30.08 

30.00 

30.030 

North 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

8 

-5 

-13 

- 10.04 

29.93 

29.93 

29.930 

North 

Moderate  and  fine. 

9 

-11 

-15 

- 12.75  • 

2S.5 

29.98 

29.87 

29.920 

N.b.W. 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy,  witli  drift  snow. 

10 

-6.5 

-15 

-  9.67 

30 

30.07 

30.00 

30.047 

N.b.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy,  with  snow. 

11 

-13 

-26.5 

-18.62 

30.07 

30.025 

30.039 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  breezes  and  fine. 

12 

-24 

-32 

-28.58 

30.13 

30.025 

30.074 

North 

Light  breezes  and  fine  clear  weather. 

13 

-24 

-34 

-28.50 

29.5 

29.95 

29.86 

29.920 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

14 

-25 

-32 

-26.08 

29.5 

29.81 

29.79 

29.802 

S.S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

15 

-21 

-40 

-30.88 

30 

29.95 

29.73 

29.790 

f           Calm            J 

\       West        ; 

Fine  weather. 

Bloderate  and  fine  clear  weather. 

16 

-36 

-42 

-39.79 

30.20 

30.04 

30.112 

S.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

17 

-30 

-40 

-35.03 

30.21 

30.09 

30.158 

North 

Ditto.                  Ditto. 

18 

-34 

-37 

-36.00 

30.07 

29.97 

30.054 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  clear,  with  drift  snow. 

19 

-38 

-47 

-42.92 

30.20 

30.12 

30.165 

C   North  round  by  1 
j     West  to  S.W.     ( 

Light  airs  and  fine— calm  at  times. 

20 

-40 

-47 

-43.71 

30.14 

29.96 

30.057 

t     Half  N.N.W.    \ 
\       Half  North      j 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

21 

-20 

-40.5 

-27.79 

29.81 

29.72 

29.765 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy,  with  drift  snow. 

22 

-21 

-25 

-23.00 

29.72 

29.72 

29.720 

North 

Strong  gales  and    squally,  with  considerable  drift. 

23 

-25 

30.20 

29.92 

30.000 

North 

Ditto.                  Ditto 

24 

-15 

30.11 

29.83 

29.982 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine,  with  drift  snow. 

25 

-5 

-18 

-11.75 

29.81 

29.73 

29.770 

N.bW. 

Moderate  breezes  and  hazy,  with  light  snow. 

26 

-20 

-28 

-24.79 

29.70 

29.67 

29.690 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

27 

-13 

-28.5 

-18.38 

29.67 

29.63 

29.650 

West 

Ditto                 Ditto. 

28 

-24.5 

-32 

-28.29 

29.80 

29.68 

29.750 

North 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

29 

-31 

-32.5 

-31.92 

29.75 

29.72 

29.740 

(            North            i 
{             Calm            5 

Light  variable  airs  and  calms. 

30 

-32 

-34 

-33.58 

29.73 

29.66 

29.695 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

+  0 

-47 

-  20.60 

30.32 

29.63 

29.945 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY  121     • 

On  the  14th  of  December,  the  day  was  beautifully  serene  and  clear,  and    1819. 
there  was  more  redness  in  the  southern  sky  about  noon,  than  there  had  been  \^^^' 
for  many  days  before  ;    the  tints,  indeed,  might  almost  be  called  prismatic.  Tue».  14. 
At  six  P.M.,  the   Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  forming  two  concentric  arches, 
passing  from  the  western  horizon  on  each  side  of  the  zenith  to  within  20°  of 
the  opposite  horizon,  resting  on  a  dark  cloud  about  seven  degrees  high,  from 
behind  which  the  light  appeared  to   issue,  and  partially  streaming  from  the 
cloud  to  the  zenith.     No  effect  was  produced  by  it  on  the  electrometer  or  the 
magnetic  needle.     The  appearance  I  have  just  described  of  the  light  seeming 
to  issue  from  behind  an  ojbscure  cloud,  is  a  very  common  one  ;  it  is  not  always, 
however,  easy  to  tell  whether  any  cloud  really  exists,  or  whether  the  appear- 
ance is  a  deception  arising  from  the  vivid  light  of  the  Aurora  being  con- 
trasted with  the  darker  colour  of  the  sky  near  it. 

On  the  17th,  in  the  morning,  this  phenomenon  was  again  observed,  being  a  Frid.  17. 
stationary  faint  light  from  S.W.  to  VT.S.W.  The  breeze  freshened  up  strong 
from  the  eastward,  and  the  thermometer  gradually  rose,  as  usual,  till  at  four 
P.M.  it  had  reached  zero,  being  the  first  time  that  it  had  stood  so  high  since 
the  5th  of  November.  The  water  in  the  Hecla's  pump-well  had,  by  this 
time,  become  completely  frozen,  so  that  it  was  no  longer  possible  to  work 
the  pumps.  In  what  manner  the  pumps  could  be  kept  free  under  such  cir- 
cumstances, if  it  were  found  necessary,  I  do  not  know,  as  there  would  have 
been  a  risk  of  damaging  the  lower  part  of  them,  in  detaching  the  ice  from  it 
to  make  the  experiment.  The  Hecla,  however,  was  so  tight  as  not  to  re- 
quire it ;  as  a  proof  of  which  it  need  only  be  mentioned,  that  the  same  twenty 
inches  of  ice  which  was  formed  about  this  period,  remained  without  any 
addition  for  more  than  six  months,  during  which  time  she  was  never  once 
pumped  out ;  and  the  only  inconvenience  that  resulted  from  this,  was  the 
accumulation  of  a  small  quantity  of  ice  among  the  coals  in  the  lower  part  of 
the  fore  and  main  holds. 

About  this  part  of  the  winter,  we  began  to  experience  a  more  serious  in- 
convenience from  the  bursting  of  the  lemon-juice  bottles  by  frost,  the  whole 
contents  being  frequently  frozen  into  a  solid  mass,  except  a  small  portion  of 
highly-concentrated  acid  in  the  centre,  which,  in  most  instances,  was  found 
to  have  leaked  out,  so  that  when  the  ice  was  thawed,  it  was  little  better 
than  water.  This  evil  increased  to  a  very  alarming  degree  in  the  course  of  the 
winter:  some  cases  being  opened  in  which  more  than  two-thirds  of  the  lemon- 
juice  was  tlius  destroyed,  and  the  remainder  rendered  nearly  inefficient.     It 


123  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.    was  at  first  supposed  that  this  accident  might  have  been  prevented  by  not  quite 
ecera  .  gji|jj^„  ^j^g  bottles,  but  it  was  afterwards  found,  that  the  corks  flying  out  did 


not  save  them  from  breaking.  We  observed  that  the  greatest  damage 
was  done  in  those  cases  vi^hich  were  stowed  nearest  to  the  ship's  side,  and 
we,  therefore,  removed  all  the  rest  amidships,  a  precaution  which,  had  it 
been  sooner  known  and  adopted,  would  probably  have  prevented,  at  least, 
a  part  of  the  mischief.  The  vinegar,  also,  became  frozen  in  the  casks  in  the 
same  manner,  and  lost  a  great  deal  of  its  acidity  when  thawed.  This 
circumstance  conferred  an  additiorial  value  on  a  few  gallons  of  very  highly 
concentrated  vinegar,  which  had  been  sent  out  on  trial,  upon  this  and  the 
preceding  voyage,  and  which,  when  mixed  with  six  or  seven  times  its  own 
quantity  of  water,  was  sufficiently  acid  for  every  purpose.  This  vinegar, 
when  exposed  to  the  temperature  of  25°  below  zero,  congealed  only  into  a 
consistence  like  that  of  the  thickest  honey,  but  was  never  sufficiently  hard  to 
break  any  vessel  which  contained  it.  There  can  be  no  doubt,  therefore, 
that  on  this  account  as  well  as  to  save  stowage,  this  kind  of  vinegar  should 
exclusively  be  used  in  these  regions  ;  and,  for  similar  reasons,  of  still  greater 
importance,  the  lemon-juice  should  be  concentrated. 

Sun.  19.  On  the  19th,  the  weather  being  fine  and  clear,  the  Aurora  Borealis  appeared 
frequently  at  different  times  of  the  day,  generally  from  the  south  to  the 
W.N.W.  quarters,  and  not  very  vivid.  From  eight  P.M.  till  midnight,  how- 
ever, it  became  more  brilliant,  and  broke  out  in  every  part  of  the  heavens, 
being  generally  most  bright  from  S.S.W.  to  S.W.,  where  it  had  the  appear- 
ance of  emerging  from  behind  a  dark  cloud  about  five  degrees  above  the 
horizon.  We  could  not,  however,  help  feeling  some  disappointment  in  not 
having  yet  witnessed  this  beautiful  phenomenon  in  any  degree  of  perfection, 
which  could  be  compared  to  that  which  occurs  at  Shetland,  or  in  the  Atlantic, 

Mon.  20.  about  the  same  latitude  as  these  islands.  On  the  morning  of  the  20th,  the 
Aurora  Borealis  again  made  its  appearance  in  the  N.W.,  which  was  more 
to  the  northward  than  usual ;  it  here  resembled  two  small  bright  clouds,  the 
one  nearly  touching  the  other,  and  being  about  seven  degrees  above  the  ho- 
rizon. These  remained  quite  stationary  for  half  an  hour,  and  then  broke  up 
into  streams  shooting  rapidly  towards  the  zenith. 

Wed.  22.  ^^  ^^^  ^ow  reached  the  shortest  day,  and  such  was  the  occupation  which 
we  had  hitherto  contrived  to  find  during  the  first  half  of  our  long  and  gloomy 
winter,  that  the  quickness  with  which  it  had  come  upon  us  was  a  subject  of 
general  remark.     So   far,  indeed,  were  we  from   wanting  that  occupation 


X 


-:^ 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  123 

of  which  I  had  been  apprehensive,   especially  among  the  men,  that  it  acci-    1810. 
dentally  came  to  my  knowledge  about  this  period,  that  they   complained  of  vl^^^' 
not  having  time  to  mend  their  clothes.     This  complaint  I  was  as  glad  to  hear, 
as  desirous  to  rectify  ;  and  I  therefore  ordered  that,  in  future,  one  afternoon 
in  each  week  should  be  set  aside  for  that  particular  purpose. 

The  circumstances  of  our  situation  being  such  as  have  never  before  oc- 
curred to  the  crews  of  any  of  His  Majesty's  ships,  it  may  not,  perhaps,  be 
considered  wholly  uninteresting,  to  know  in  what  manner  our  time  was  thus 
so  fully  occupied  throughout  the  long  and  severe  winter,  which  it  was  our 
lot  to  experience,  and  particularly  during  a  three  months'  interval  of  nearly 
total  darkness. 

The  officers  and  quarter-masters  were  divided  into  four  watches,  which 
were  regularly  kept,  as  at  sea,  Avhile  the  remainder  of  the  ship's  company 
were  allowed  to  enjoy  their  night's  rest  undisturbed.  The  hands  were  turned 
up  at  a  quarter  before  six,  and  both  decks  were  well  rubbed  with  stones  and 
warm  sand  before  eight  o'clock,  at  which  time,  as  usual  at  sea,  both  officers 
and  men  went  to  breakfast.  Three-quarters  of  an  hour  being  allowedafterbreak- 
fast  for  the  men  to  prepare  themselves  for  muster,  we  then  beat  to  divisions 
punctually  at  a  quarter-past  nine,  when  every  person  on  board  attended  on  the 
quarter-deck,  and  a  strict  inspection  of  the  men  took  place,  as  to  their  per- 
sonal cleanliness,  and  the  good  condition,  as  well  as  sufficient  warmth,  of 
their  clothing.  The  reports  of  the  officers  having  been  made  to  me,  the 
people  were  then  allowed  to  walk  about,  or,  more  usually,  to  run  round  the 
upper  deck,  while  I  went  down  to  examine  the  state  of  that  below,  accom- 
panied, as  I  before  mentioned,  by  Lieutenant  Beechey  and  Mr.  Edwards. 
The  state  of  this  deck  may  be  said,  indeed,  to  have  constituted  the  chief 
source  of  our  anxiety,  and  to  have  occupied  by  far  the  greatest  share  of  our 
attention  at  this  period.  Whenever  any  dampness  appeared,  or,  what  more 
frequently  happened,  any  accumulation  of  ice  had  taken  place  during  the 
preceding  night,  the  necessary  means  were  immediately  adopted  for  re- 
moving it ;  in  the  former  case  usually  by  rubbing  the  wood  with  cloths,  and 
then  directing  the  warm  air-pipe  towards  the  place ;  and  in  the  latter,  by 
scraping  off  the  ice,  so  as  to  prevent  its  wetting  the  deck  by  any  accidental 
increase  of  temperature.  In  this  respect  the  bed-places  were  particularly 
troublesome ;  the  inner  partition,  or  that  next  the  ship's  side,  being  almost 
invariably  covered  with  more  or  less  dampness  or  ice,  according  to  the  tem- 
perature of  the  deck  during  the  preceding  night.     This  inconvenience  might 


l-gft  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  to  a  great  degree  have  been  avoided,  by  a  sufficient  quantity  of  fuel  to  keep 
Decemb.  ^^  ^^^  good  fires  on  the  lower  deck,  throughout  the  twenty -four  hours ;  but 
our  stock  of  coals  would  by  no  means  permit  this,  bearing  in  mind  the  pos- 
sibility of  our  spending  a  second  winter  within  the  Arctic  circle  ;  and  this 
comfort  could  only,  therefore,  be  allowed  on  a  few  occasions,  during  the 
most  severe  part  of  the  winter. 

In  the  course  of  my  examination  of  the  lower  deck,  I  had  always  an  op- 
portunity of  seeing  those  few  men  who  were  on  the  sick  list,  and  of  re- 
ceiving from  Mr.  Edwards  a  report  of  their  respective  cases  ;  as  also  of  con- 
sulting that  gentleman  as  to  the  means  of  improving  the  warmth,  ventilation, 
and  general  comfort  of  the  inhabited  parts  of  the  ship.  Having  performed 
this  duty,  we  returned  to  the  upper  deck,  where  I  personally  inspected  the 
men;  after  which  they  were  sent  out  to  walk  on  shore  when  the  weather  would 
permit,  till  noon,  when  they  returned  on  board  to  their  dinner.  When  the 
day  was  too  inclement  for  them  to  take  this  exercise,  they  were  ordered  to 
run  round  and  round  the  deck,  keeping  step  to  a  tune  on  the  organ,  or,  not 
unfrequently,  to  a  song  of  their  own  singing.  Among  the  men  were  a 
few  who  did  not  at  first  quite  like  this  systematic  mode  of  taking  exercise ; 
but  when  they  found  that  no  plea,  except  that  of  illness,  was  admitted  as 
an  excuse,  they  not  only  willingly  and  cheerfully  complied,  but  made  it  the 
occasion  of  much  humour  and  frolic  among  themselves. 

The  officers,  who  dined  at  two  o'clock,  were  also  in  the  habit  of  occupying 
one  or  two  hours  in  the  middle  of  the  day  in  rambling  on  shore,  even  in  our 
darkest  period,  except  when  a  fresh  wind  and  a  heavy  snow-drift  confined 
them  within  the  housing  of  the  ships.  It  may  be  well  imagined  that  at 
this  period,  there  was  but  little  to  be  met  with  in  our  walks  on  shore,  which 
could  either  amuse  or  interest  us.  The  necessity  of  not  exceeding  the 
limited  distance  of  one  or  two  miles,  lest  a  snow-drift,  which  often  rises  very 
suddenly,  should  prevent  our  return,  added  considerably  to  the  dull  and 
tedious  monotony  which,  day  after  day,  presented  itself.  To  the  southward 
was  the  sea,  covered  with  one  unbroken  surface  of  ice,  uniform  in  its  daz- 
zling whiteness,  except  that,  in  some  parts,  a  few  hummocks  were  seen 
thrown  up  somewhat  above  the  general  level.  Nor  did  the  land  offer  much 
greater  variety,  being  almost  entirely  covered  with  snow,  except  here  and 
there  a  brown  patch  of  bare  ground  in  some  exposed  situations,  where  the 
wind  had  not  allowed  the  snow  to  remain.  When  viewed  from  the  summit  of 
the    neighbouring  hills,  on  one  of  those  calm  and  clear  days,  which   not 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  125 

unfrequently  occurred  during  the  winter,  the  scene  was  such  as  to  induce  J819. 
contemplations,  which  had,  perhaps,  more  of  melancholy  than  of  any  other  \^^r<^' 
feeling.  Not  an  object  was  to  be  seen  on  which  the  eye  could  long  rest  with 
pleasure,  unless  when  directed  to  the  spot  where  the  ships  lay,  and  where 
our  little  colony  was  planted.  The  smoke  which  there  issued  from  the 
several  fires,  affording  a  certain  indication  of  the  presence  of  man,  gave  a 
partial  cheerfulness  to  this  part  of  the  prospect,  and  the  sound  of  voices 
which,  during  the  cold  weather,  could  be  heard  at  a  much  greater  distance 
than  usual,  served  now  and  then  to  break  the  silence  which  reigned  around 
us,  a  silence  far  different  from  that  peaceable  composure  which  characterizes 
the  landscape  of  a  cultivated  country  ;  it  was  the  death-like  stillness  of  the 
most  dreary  desolation,  and  the  total  absence  of  animated  existence.  Such, 
indeed,  was  the  want  of  objects  to  afford  relief  to  the  eye  or  amusement  to 
the  mind,  that  a  stone  of  more  than  usual  size  appearing  above  the  snow,  in 
the  direction  in  which  we  were  going,  immediately  became  a  mark,  on  which 
our  eyes  were  unconsciously  fixed,  and  towards  which  we  mechanically  ad- 
vanced. 

Dreary  as  such  a  scene  must  necessarily  be,  it  could  not,  however,  be 
said  to  be  wholly  wanting  in  interest,  especially  when  associated  in  the 
mind  with  the  peculiarity  of  our  situation,  the  object  which  had  brought 
us  hither,  and  the  hopes  which  the  least  sanguine  among  us  sometimes  en- 
tertained, of  spending  a  part  of  our  next  winter  in  the  more  genial  climate 
of  the  South-Sea  Islands.  Perhaps,  too,  though  none  of  us  then  ventured  to 
confess  it,  our  thoughts  would  sometimes  involuntarily  wander  homewards, 
and  institute  a  comparison  between  the  rugged  face  of  nature  in  this  desolate 
region,  and  the  livelier  aspect  of  the  happy  land  which  we  had  left  behind  us. 

We  had  frequent  occasion,  in  our  walks  on  shore,  to  remark  the  deception 
which  takes  place  in  estimating  the  distance  and  magnitude  of  objects,  when 
viewed  over  an  unvaried  surface  of  snow.  It  was  not  uncommon  for  us  to 
direct  our  steps  towards  what  we  took  to  be  a  large  mass  of  stone,  at  the 
distance  of  half  a  mile  from  us,  but  which  we  were  able  to  take  up  in  our 
hands  after  one  minute's  walk.  This  was  more  particularly  the  case,  when 
ascending  the  brow  of  a  hill,  nor  did  we  find  that  the  deception  became 
less,  on  account  of  the  frequency  with  which  we  experienced  its  effects. 

In  the  afternoon,  the  men  were  usually  occupied  in  drawing  and  knotting 
yarns,  and  in  making  points  and  gaskets ;  a  never-failing  resource,  where 
mere  occupation  is  required,  and  which  it  was  necessary  to  perform  entirely 


136  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1819.  on  the  lower  deck,  the  yarns  becoming  so  hard  and  brittle,  when  exposed 
'^^^^  on  deck  to  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  as  to  be  too  stiff  for  work- 
ing, and  very  easily  broken.  I  may  in  this  place  remark,  that  our  lower 
rigging  became  extremely  slack  during  the  severity  of  the  winter,  and  gra- 
dually tightened  again  as  the  spring  returned :  effects  the  very  reverse  of 
those  which  we  had  anticipated,  and  which  I  can  only  account  for  by  the 
extreme  dryness  of  the  atmosphere  in  the  middle  of  winter,  and  the  sub- 
sequent increase  of  moisture. 

At  half-past  five  in  the  evening,  the  decks  were  cleared  up,  and  at 
six  we  again  beat  to  divisions,  when  the  same  examination  of  the  men 
and  of  their  births  and  bed-places  took  place  as  in  the  morning  ;  the  people 
then  went  to  their  supper,  and  the  officers  to  tea.  After  this  time  the  men 
were  permitted  to  amuse  themselves  as  they  pleased,  and  games  of 
various  kinds,  as  well  as  dancing  and  singing  occasionally,  went  on  upon 
the  lower  deck  till  nine  o'clock,  when  they  went  to  bed,  and  their  lights 
were  extinguished.  In  order  to  guard  against  accidents  by  fire,  where  so 
many  fires  and  lights  were  necessarily  in  use,  the  quarter-masters  visited 
the  lower  deck  every  half  hour  during  the  night,  and  made ,  their  report  to 
the  officers  of  the  watches  that  all  was,  in  this  respect,  safe  below  ;  and  to 
secure  a  ready  supply  of  water  in  case  of  fire,  a  hole  was  cut  twice  a  day  in 
the  ice,  close  alongside  each  ship.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  add,  that  the 
evening  occupations  of  the  officers  were  of  a  more  rational  kind  than  those 
which  engaged  the  attention  of  the  men.  Of  these,  reading  and  writing  were 
the  principal  employments,  to  which  were  occasionally  added  a  game  at 
chess,  or  a  tune  on  the  flute  or  violin,  till  half-past  ten,  about  which  time  we 
all  retired  to  rest. 

Such  were  the  employments  which  usually  occupied  us  for  six  days  in 
the  week,  with  such  exceptions  only  as  circumstances  at  the  time  suggested. 
On  Sundays,  divine  service  was  invariably  performed,  and  a  sermon  read 
on  board  both  ships ;  the  prayer  appointed  to  be  daily  used  at  sea  being 
altered,  so  as  to  adapt  it  to  the  service  in  which  we  were  engaged,  the 
success  which  had  hitherto  attended  our  efforts,  and  the  peculiar  circum- 
stances under  which  we  were  at  present  placed.  The  attention  paid  by  the 
men  to  the  observance  of  their  religious  duties,  was  such  as  to  reflect  upon 
them  the  highest  credit,  and  tended  in  no  small  degree  to  the  preservation 
of  that  regularity  and  good  conduct,  for  which,  with  very  few  exceptions 
they  were  invariably  distinguished. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  127 

Our  theatrical  entertainments  took  place  regularly  once  a  fortnight,  and  1819. 
continued  to  prove  a  source  of  infinite  amusement  to  the  men.  Our  stock  of  ^^^^ ' 
plays  was  so  scanty,  consisting  only  of  one  or  two  volumes,  which  happened 
accidentally  to  be  on  board,  that  it  was  with  difficulty  we  could  find  the 
means  of  varying  the  performances  sufficiently  ;  our  authors,  therefore,  set 
to  work,  and  produced,  as  a  Christmas  piece,  a  musical  entertainment,  ex- 
pressly adapted  to  our  audience,  and  having  such  a  reference  to  the  service 
on  which  we  were  engaged,  and  the  success  we  had  so  far  experienced,  as 
at  once  to  afford  a  high  degree  of  present  recreation,  and  to  stimulate,  if 
possible,  the  sanguine  hopes  which  were  entertained  by  all  on  board,  of  the 
complete  accomplishment  of  our  enterprise.  We  were  at  one  time  ap- 
prehensive, that  the  severity  of  the  weather  would  have  prevented  the 
continuance  of  this  amusement,  but  the  perseverance  of  the  officers  over- 
came every  difficulty  ;  and,  perhaps  for  the  first  time  since  theatrical  en- 
tertainments were  invented,  more  than  one  or  two  plays  were  performed, 
on  board  the  Hecla,  with  the  thermometer  below  zero  on  the  stage. 

The  North  Georgia  Gazette,  which  I  have  already  mentioned,  was  a  source 
of  great  amusement,  not  only  to  the  contributors,  but  to  those  who,  from 
diffidence  of  their  own  talents,  or  other  reasons,  could  not  be  prevailed  on 
to  add  their  mite  to  the  little  stock  of  literary  composition,  which  was 
weekly  demanded ;  for  those  who  declined  to  write  were  not  unwilling  to 
read,  and  more  ready  to  criticise  than  those  who  wielded  the  pen ;  but  it 
was  that  good-humoured  sort  of  criticism  that  could  not  give  offence.  The 
subjects  handled  in  this  paper  were,  of  course,  various,  but  generally  ap- 
plicable to  our  own  situation.  Of  its  merits  or  defects  it  will  not  be  necessary 
for  me  to  say  any  thing  here,  as  I  find  that  the  officers,  who  were  chiefly 
concerned  in  carrying  it  on,  have  agreed  to  print  it  for  the  entertainment  of 
their  friends  ;  the  publisher  being  at  liberty,  after  supplying  each  with  a 
certain  number  of  copies,  to  dispose  of  the  rest. 

The  return  of  each  successive  day  had  been  always  very  decidedly  marked 
by  a  considerable  twilight  for  some  time  about  noon,  that  on  the  shortest 
day  being  sufficient  to  enable  us  to  walk  out  very  comfortably  for  nearly  two 
hours*.     There   was  usually,  in  clear  weather,  a  beautiful  arch  of  bright 


128  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

.1819.  red  light,  overspreading  the  southern  horizon  for  an  hour  or  two  before 
\.*->-*^  and  atter  noon,  the  light  increasing,  of  course,  in  strength,  as  the  sun  ap. 
preached  the  meridian.  Short  as  the  day  now  was,  if  indeed  any  part  of 
the  twenty-four  hours  could  properly  be  called  by  that  name,  the  reflection  of 
light  from  the  snow,  aided  occasionally  by  a  bright  moon,  was  at  all  times 
sufficient  to  prevent  our  experiencing,  even  under  the  most  unfavourable  cir- 
cumstances, any  thing  like  the  gloomy  night  which  occurs  in  more  temperate 
climates.  Especial  care  was  taken,  during  the  time  the  sun  was  below 
the  horizon,  to  preserve  the  strictest  regularity  in  the  time  of  our  meals, 
and  in  the  various  occupations  which  engaged  our  attention  during  the  day  ; 
and  this,  together  with  the  gradual  and  imperceptible  manner  in  which  the 
days  had  shortened,  prevented  this  kind  of  life,  so  novel  to  us  in  reality, 
from  appearing  very  inconvenient,  or  indeed  like  any  thing  out  of  the  common 
way.  It  must  be  confessed,  however,  that  we  were  not  sorry  to  have  ar- 
rived, without  any  serious  suffering,  at  the  shortest  day ;  and  we  watched, 
with  no  ordinary  degree  of  pleasure,  the  slow  approach  of  the  returning  sun, 
.  We  had  generally  found  the  ice  to  crack  near  the  shore,  as  I  have  already 
had  occasion  to  observe,  about  the  second  day  after  the  new  and  full  moon, 
in  consequence  of  the  highest  tides  taking  place  at  that  time;  but  this  was  not 
the  case  in  the  present  lunation ;  the  separation  of  the  ice  from  the  beach  not 
having  taken  place  till  the  22d,  or  five  days  and  eight  hours  after  the  time  of 
the  new  moon.  This  retardation  of  the  tides  may,  perhaps,  have  arisen  from 
the  circumstance  of  the  moon  and  sun  having  both  had  their  greatest  south 
declination  about  the  usual  time  of  the  highest  spring-tide.  It  may  possibly 
have  been  affected  also  by  fresh  gales  from  the  eastward,  which  blew  on  the 
17th  and  I8th. 
Sat.  25.  On  Christmas-day  the  weather  was  raw  and  cold,  with  a  considerable  snow- 
drift, though  the  wind  was  only  moderate  from  the  N.W. ;  but  the  snow 
which  falls  during  the  severe  winter  of  this  climate  is  composed  of  spiculae 
so  extremely  minute,  that  +J  requires  very  little  wind  to  raise  and  carry  it 
along.  To  mark  the  day  in  the  best  manner  which  circumstances  would 
permit,  divine  service  was  performed  on  board  the  ships  ;  and  I  directed 
a  small  increase  in  the  men's  usual  proportion  of  fresh  nxeat  as  a  Christmas- 
dinner,  as  well  as  an  additional  allowance  of  grog,  to  drink  the  health  of 
their  friends  in  England.  The  officers  also  met  at  a  social  and  friendly  din- 
ner, and  the  day  passed  with  much  of  the  same  kind  of  festivity  by  which  it 
is  usually  distinguished  at  home ;  and,  to  the  credit  of  the  men  be  it  spoken, 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  129 

without  any  of  that  disorder  by  which  it  is  too  often  observed  by  seamen.    1819. 
A  piece  of  English  roast-beef,  which  formed  part  of  the  officers'  dinner,  had  v,^^^' 
been  on  board  since  the  preceding  May,  and  preserved  without  salt  during 
that  period,  merely  by  the  antiseptic  properties  of  a  cold  atmosphere. 

Between  eight  and  nine  A.M.  on  the  26th,  the  wiiid  freshened  up  very 
suddenly  to  a  strong  breeze  from  the  northward  and  westward,  and  during 
that  hour  the  thermometer  rose  from  — 20°  to  — 6°.  In  the  afternoon  the 
wind  became  moderate  and  variable  in  its  direction,  and  the  thermometer  had 
again  fallen  to  — 17°  at  midnight,  and  continued  to  fall  very  gradually  for  the 
four  following  days,  till  on  the  30th  it  had  reached  —  43°,  being  the  lowest 
temperature  we  had  yet  experienced.  During  the  whole  of  that  interval  the 
weather  was  nearly  calm,  and  very  fine  and  clear,  and  at  half  past  seven 
A.M.  on  the  30th,  the  mercury  in  the  barometer  stood  at  30.755  inches,  being 
the  highest  we  had  yet  seen  it  during  the  voyage.  The  colours  of  the  southern 
sky  near  the  horizon  were  observed  to  be  remarkably  prismatic  at  noon  on 
that  day. 

A  great  many  frost-bites  occurred  about  this  time,  principally  in  the  men's  Thur.  30. 
feet,  even  when  they  had  been  walking  quickly  on  shore  for  exercise.  On  ex- 
amining their  boots,  Mr.  Edwards  remarked,  that  the  stiffness  of  the  thick 
leather,  of  which  they  were  made,  was  such  as  to  cramp  the  feet,  and  prevent 
the  circulation  from  going  on  freely,  and  that  this  alone  was  sufficient  to 
account  for  their  feet  having  been  frost-bitten.  Being  very  desirous  of 
avoiding  these  accidents,  which  from  the  increased  sluggishness  with  which 
the  sores  healed,  were  more  and  more  likely  to  affect  the  general  health  of 
the  patients  by  long  confinement,  I  directed  a  pair  of  canvass  boots,  lined 
with  blanketing,  or  some  other  woollen  stuff,  to  be  made  for  each  man,  using 
raw  hide  as  soles  ;  this  completely  answered  the  desired  purpose,  as  scarcely 
any  frost-bites  in  the  feet  afterwards  occurred,  except  under  circumstances  of 
very  severe  exposure. 

On  the  31st  of  December,  another  striking  instance  occurred  of  the  Frid.  31. 
simultaneous  rise  in  the  wind  and  the  thermometer.  At  two  A.M.  the  latter 
stood  at -28°,  but  the  wind  freshening  up  to  a  strong  breeze  from  the  north- 
ward and  eastward,  and  afterwards  from  the  S.S.E.  in  the  course  of  the  day, 
the  thermometer  gradually  rose  at  the  same  time,  and  stood  at  +  5°  at  mid- 
night ;  thus  closing  the  year  with  milder  weather  than  we  had  enjoyed  for 
the  eight  preceding  weeks. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship   Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  December 

,    1819. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Mari- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

1 

o 
-25 

-3°4 

-  30.29 

inches. 
29.60 

inches.  '    inches. 
29.57    29.582 

Round  the  compass  . 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

2 

28 

36 

32.96 

29.60 

29.52 

29.570 

5    HalfN.N.W.    > 
t    HalfS.b.E.       S 

Ditto           ditto. 

3 

9 

23 

16.04 

29.46 

29.40 

29.430 

S.b.E. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

4 

26 

34 

31.71 

29.42 

29.36 

29.395 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

5 

27 

35 

31.25 

29.46 

29.36 

29.397 

N.b.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

6 

23 

34 

27.00 

29.51 

29.45 

29.470 

West. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

7 

19 

26 

22.29 

29.67 

29.53 

29.592 

S.E. 

Light  airs  and  hazy. 

8 

15 

22 

19.67 

29.80 

29.67 

29.738 

E.S.E. 

Moderate  and  clear. 

9 

17 

21 

18.83 

29.89 

29.83 

29.867 

E.b.S. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

10 

18 

21 

19.33 

:29.90 

29.89 

29.893 

East. 

Fresh  breezes  and  clear. 

11 

4 

20 

11.21 

29.80 

29.65 

29.715 

E.b.S. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

12 

9 

20 

14.42 

29.74 

29.67 

29.700 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  clear. 

13 

7 

14 

10.96 

29.92 

29.79 

29.865 

N.W.b.N. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

14 

7 

10 

8.29 

30.40 

30.04 

30.230 

C  A.M.,N.W.b.W.> 
I  P.M.,S.W.         S 

Ditto              ditto. 

15 

7 

15 

11.63 

30.39 

30.23 

30.350 

East. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

16 

8 

18 

13.50 

30.31 

30.13 

30.240 

E.S.E. 

Moderate  and  fine  clear  weather. 

17 

0 

9 

4.37 

30.00 

29.85 

29.905 

East. 

Strong  breezes  and  cloudy,  with  drift. 

18 

3 

11 

5.00 

29.90 

29.84 

29.886 

East. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

19 

9 

24 

17.46 

29.95 

29.94 

29.945 

N.N.W, 

Moderate  and  fine. 

20 

19 

25 

22.83 

29.96 

29.93 

29.940 

N.b.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

21 

19 

25 

23.50 

30.11 

30.00 

30.071 

North 

Ditto  with  drift. 

22 

27 

35 

31.00 

30.06 

30.05 

30.052 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

23 

30 

37 

33.83 

30.10 

30.03 

30.060 

N.W. 

Ditto                 ditto 

24 

24 

34 

31.17 

30.01 

29.71 

29.842 

C      Half  N.W.      7 
I       HalfN.N.W.  I 

Moderate  and  fine. 

25 

23.5 

30 

26.04 

29.69 

29.59 

29.648 

N.W. 

Ditto                ditto. 

26 

5 

34 

16.21 

29.35 

29.10 

29.226 

N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift. 

27 

17 

32 

24.58 

29.94 

29.47 

29.710 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

28 

34 

39 

36.75 

30.33 

30.01 

30.162 

South. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

29 

34 

40 

37.38 

30.71 

30.40 

30.562 

South. 

Ditto                ditto. 

30 

30 

43 

38.96 

30.75 

30.62 

30.688 

North 

Ditto                  ditto. 

31 

+  6 

28 

7.17 

30.39 

29.80 

30.092 

5  A.M.,N-N.E.     > 
\  P.M.,  East.        S 

Strong  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift  snow. 

+   6 

-43 

-21.79 

30.75 

29.10; 

29.865 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY. 


131 


CHAPTER  VI. 


FIRST  APPEARANCE  OP  SCURVY — THE  AURORA  BOREALIS  AND  OTHER 
METEOROLOGICAL  PHENOMENA — VISITS  OF  THE  WOLVES — RE-APPEAR- 
ANCE OF  THE  SUN — EXTREME  LOW  TEMPERATURE — DESTRUCTION  OF 
THE  HOUSE  ON  SHORE  BY  FIRE — SEVERE  FROST-BITES  OCCASIONED  BY 
THIS    ACCIDENT. 


1820. 
January. 

Sat.  1 . 


1  HE  mild  weather  with  which  the  new  year  commenced  was  not  of  long 
duration  ;  for,  as  the  wind  gradually  moderated,  the  thermometer  slowly  fell 
once  more  to  the  average  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  at  this  season.  The 
quantity  of  snow  which  had  fallen  at  this  time  was  so  small,  that  its  general 
depth  on  shore  did  not  exceed  one  or  two  inches,  except  where  it  had 
drifted  into  the  ravines  and  hollows.  At  ten  A.M.,  on  the  1st,  a  halo,  whose 
radius  was  22°  30',  with  three  paraselenae,  which  were  very  luminous,  but  not 
tinged  with  the  prismatic  colours,  was  seen  about  the  moon,  similar  to  that 
described  on  the  1st  of  December;  and' on  the  following  day  the  same  Sun. 2. 
phenomenon  occurred,  with  the  addition  of  a  vertical  stripe  of  white  light 
proceeding  from  the  upper  and  lower  limbs  of  the  moon,  and  forming,  with  a 
part  of  the  horizontal  circle  seen  before,  the  appearance  of  a  cross,  as  shewn 
in  the  accompanying  diagram.     There  was  also  at  times  an  arc  of  another 


^W2  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    circle  touching  the  halo,  which  sometimes   reached  almost  to  the  zenith, 
January.  ^^^  changed  the  intensity  of  its  light  very  frequently,  not  unlike  the  Aurora 
Borealis. 

I  received  this  morning  the  first  unpleasant  report  of  the  scurvy  having 
made  its  appearance  among  us:  Mr.  Scallon,  the  gunner  of  the  Hecla, 
had  for  some  days  past  been  complaining  of  pains  in  his  legs,  which 
Mr.  Edwards  at  first  took  to  be  rheumatic,  but  which  together  with  the 
appearance  of  his  gums,  now  left  no  doubt  of  the  symptoms  being  scor- 
butic. It  is  so  uncommon  a  thing  for  this  disease  to  make  its  first  ap- 
pearance among  the  officers,  that  Mr.  Edwards  was  naturally  curious  to  in- 
quire into  the  cause  of  it;  and  at  length  discovered  that  Mr.  Scallon's  bedding 
was  in  so  damp  a  state,  in  consequence  of  the  deposit  of  moisture  in  his 
bed-place,  which  I  have  before  mentioned,  as  to  leave  no  doubt  that  to  this 
circumstance,  as  the  immediate  exciting  cause,  his  illness  might  justly  be 
attributed.  The  difficulty  of  preventing  this  deposit  of  moisture,  and  the 
consequent  accumulation  of  ice,  was  much  greater  in  the  officers'  bed-places 
than  in  those  of  the  men,  in  consequence  of  the  former  being  necessarily 
placed  in  close  contact  with  the  ships'  sides,  and  foraiing  an  immediate  com- 
munication, as  it  were,  with  the  external  atmosphere ;  whereas  in  the  latter, 
there  was  a  vacant  interval  of  eighteen  inches  in  width  interposed  between 
them.  To  prevent,  as  much  as  possible,  therefore,  the  injurious  effects  of 
this  evil  upon  the  health  of  the  officers,  I  appointed  certain  days  for  the 
airing  of  their  bedding  by  the  fires,  as  well  as  for  that  of  the  ships'  companies. 
Every  attention  was  paid  to  Mr.  Scallon's  case  by  the  medical  gentlemen, 
and  all  our  anti-scorbutics  were  put  in  requisition  for  his  recovery ;  these  con- 
sisted principally  of  preserved  vegetable  soups,  lemon-juice,  and  sugar, 
pickles,  preserved  currants  and  gooseberries,  and  spruce-beer.  I  began  also 
about  this  time  to  raise  a  small  quantity  of  mustard  and  cress  in  my  cabin,  in 
small  shallow  boxes  filled  with  mould,  and  placed  along  the  stove-pipe ;  by 
these  means,  even  in  the  severity  of  the  winter,  we  could  generally  ensure 
a  crop  at  the  end  of  the  sixth  or  seventh  day  after  sowing  the  seed,  which, 
by  keeping  several  boxes  at  work,  would  give  to  two  or  three  scorbutic 
patients  nearly  an  ounce  of  salad  each  daily,  even  though  the  necessary 
economy  in  our  coals  did  not  allow  of  the  fire  being  kept  in  at  night.  Had 
this  been  allowable,  and  a  proper  apparatus  at  hand  for  the  purpose,  there  is 
no  doubt  that  it  might  have  been  raised  much  more  rapidly :  and  those  who 
are  aw^are  how  perfect  a  specific  a  very  small  quantity  of  fresh  vegetable  sub- 


J 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  133 

stance  is  for  the  scurvy,  will,  perhaps,  agree  with  me  in  thinking  that  such  an  I82u. 
apparatus  would  form  a  very  valuable  appendage  to  be  applied  occasionally  ^!i^^' 
to  the  cabin-stove.  The  mustard  and  cress  thus  raised  were  neces- 
sarily colourless,  from  the  privation  of  light,  but,  as  far  as  we  could  judge, 
they  possessed  the  same  pungent  aromatic  taste  as  if  grown  under  ordi- 
nary circumstances.  So  effectual  were  these  remedies  in  Mr.  Scallon's  case, 
that,  on  the  ninth  evening  from  the  attack,  he  was  able  to  walk  about  on 
the  lower  deck  for  some  time,  and  he  assured  me  that  he  could  then  "  run 
a  race." 

On  the  morning  of  the  4th,  a  cross  appeared  about  the  moon,  consisting  of 
vertical  and  horizontal  rays  of  white  light,  similar  to  those  described  on  the 
2d,  but  unaccompanied  by  any  halo.  The  thermometer  was  at  —44°  in  the 
early  part  of  the  day ;  but  the  wind  freshening  to  a  strong  breeze  from  the 
northward,  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  was  considerably  raised,  as 
usual,  the  thermometer  having  got  up  to  —36°  at  ten  P.M.  The  temperature 
of  the  holds  in  the  fore-part  of  the  ship  was  now  generally  as  low  as  22°, 
that  of  the  Hecla's  lower-deck  being  seldom  above  40°,  except  during  the 
ships'  companies'  meals. 

The  7th  of  January  was  one  of  the  most  severe  days  to  the  feelings  which  Frid.  7. 
we  experienced  during  the  winter,  the  wind  being  strong  from  the  northward 
with  a  heavy  drift,  and  the  thermometer  continuing  from  —38°  to  —40°. 
It  is  impossible  to  conceive  any  thing  more  inclement  than  such  a  day,  when 
we  could  with  difficulty  pass  and  repass  between  the  two  ships,  and  were 
glad  to  keep  every  person  closely  confined  on  board. 

At  half-past  five  P.M.,  on  the  8th,  the  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  forming  a  Sat.  8. 
broken  and  irregular  arch  of  white  light,  10°  or  12°  high  in  the  centre,  ex- 
tending from  N.b.W.,  round  by  W.  to  S.S.E.  with  occasional  coruscations 
proceeding  from  it  towards  the  zenith.  It  continued  thus  for  an  hour,  and 
re-appeared  from  eight  o'clock  till  midnight  in  a  similar  manner,  making, 
however,  but  a  poor  display  of  this  beautiful  phenomenon.  Neither  the  mag- 
netic needle,  nor  the  gold-leaf  of  the  electrometer,  were,  in  either  instance,  in 
the  slightest  degree  affected  by  it. 

7     At  eight  A.M.  on  the  11th,  faint  coruscations  of  the  Aurora  Borealis  wereTues.  ll. 

hobserved  to  dart  with  inconceivable  rapidity  across  the  heavens  from  W.N.W. 

to  E.S.E.,  from  horizon  to  horizon,  and  passing  about  25°  to  the  south  of  the 

zenith.     At  noon  to-day,  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  had  got  down 

to  49°  below    zero,  being  the  greatest  degree  of  cold  which  we  had  yet 


VOYAGE  tOfe  tHE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  experienced ;  but  the  weather  being  quite  calm,  we  walked  on  shore  for  an 
,^^IJ^'  hour  without  inconvenience,  the  sensation  of  cold  depending  much  more  on 
the  degree  of  wind  at  the  time,  than  on  the  absolute  temperature  of  the  at- 
mosphere, as  indicated  by  the  thermometer.  In  several  of  the  accounts 
given  of  those  countries  in  which  an  intense  degree  of  natural  cold  is 
experienced,  some  effects  are  attributed  to  it  which  certainly  did  not  come 
under  our  observation  in  the  course  of  this  winter.  The  first  of  these 
is  the  dreadful  sensation  said  to  be  produced  on  the  lungs,  causing  them 
to  feel  as  if  torn  asunder,  when  the  air  is  inhaled  at  a  very  low  tem* 
perature.  No  such  sensation  was  ever  experienced  by  us,  though  in  going 
from  the  cabins  into  the  open  air,  and  vice  versa,  we  were  constantly  in  the 
habit  for  some  months  of  undergoing  a  change  of  from  80°  to  100°,  and,  in 
several  instances,  120°  of  temperature  in  less  than  one  minute  ;  and  what  is 
still  more  extraordinary,  not  a  single  inflammatory  complaint,  beyond  a 
slight  cold  which  was  cured  by  common  care  in  a  day  or  two,  occurred 
during  this  particular  period.  The  second  is,  the  vapour  with  which  the 
air  of  an  inhabited  room  is  charged,  condensing  into  a  shower  of  snow, 
immediately  on  the  opening  of  a  door  or  window,  communicating  with 
the  external  atmosphere.  This  goes  much  beyond  any  thing  that  we  had  an 
opportunity  of  observing.  What  happened  Math  us  was  simply  this;  on 
the  opening  of  the  doors  at  the  top  and  bottom  of  our  hatchway  ladders, 
the  vapour  was  immediately  condensed  by  the  sudden  admission  of  the 
cold  air,  into  a  visible  form,  exactly  resembling  a  very  thick  smoke,  which 
settled  on  all  the  pannels  of  the  doors  and  bulk-heads,  and  immediately 
froze,  by  which  means  the  latter  were  covered  with  a  thick  coating  of 
ice  which  it  was  necessary  frequently  to  scrape  off;  but  we  never,  to 
my  knowledge,  witnessed  the  conversion  of  the  vapour  into  snow,  during 
its  fall. 
Sat.  15.  On  the  evening  of  the  15th,  the  atmosphere  being  clear  and  serene,  we 
were  gratified  by  a  sight  of  the  only  very  brilliant  and  diversified  display  of 
Aurora  Borealis,  which  occurred  during  the  whole  winter ;  I  believe  it  to  be 
almost  impossible  for  words  to  give  an  idea  of  the  beauty  and  variety  which 
this  magnificent  phenomenon  displayed;  I  am  at  least  certain,  that  no  descrip- 
tion of  mine  can  convey  an  adequate  conception  of  it,  and  I  therefore  gladly 
avail  myself  of  the  following  account,  by  Captain  Sabine,  which  was  furnished 
bv  my  request  at  the  time  for  insertion  in  my  Journal. 

"  Mr.  Edwards,  from  whom  Tve  first  heard  that  the  Aurora  was  visible, 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  135 

described  it  as  forming  a  complete  arch,  having  its  legs  nearly  north  1820. 
and  south  of  each  other,  and  passing  a  little  to  the  eastward  of  the  zenith.  ^^^^' 
When  I  went  upon  the  ice,  the  arch  had  broken  up ;  towards  the  southern 
horizon  was  the  ordinary  Aurora,  such  as  we  had  lately  seen  on  clear  nights, 
being  a  pale  light,  apparently  issuing  from  behind  an  obscure  cloud,  at  from 
six  to  twelve  degrees  of  altitude,  extending  more  or  less  towards  the  east  or 
west  on  different  nights,  and  at  different  times  of  the  same  night,  having  no 
determined  centre  or  point  of  bisection,  the  greater  part,  and  even  at  times 
the  whole  of  the  luminous  appearance  being  sometimes  to  the  east,  and  some- 
times to  the  west  of  south,  but  rarely  seen  in  the  northern  horizon,  or  beyond 
the  east  and  west  points  of  the  heavens.  This  corresponds  with  the  Aurora 
most  commonly  noticed  in  Britain,  except  that  it  is  there  as  peculiar  to  the 
northern  as  here  to  the  southern  horizon,  occasionally  shooting  upAvards  in 
rays  and  gleams  of  light.  It  was  not  distinguished  by  any  unusual  bril- 
liancy or  extent  on  this  occasion,  the  splendid  part  of  the  phenomenon  being 
detached  and  apparently  quite  distinct. 

"  The  luminous  arch  had  broken  into  irregular  masses,  streaming  with 
much  rapidity  in  different  directions,  varying  continually  in  shape  and  in- 
tensity, and  extending  themselves  from  north,  by  the  east,  to  south.  If  the 
surface  of  the  heavens  be  supposed  to  be  divided  by  a  plane  passing  through 
the  meridian,  the  Aurora  was  confined,  during  the  time  I  saw  it,  to  the 
eastern  side  of  the  plane,  and  was  usually  most  vivid  and  in  larger  masses  in 
the  E.S.E.  than  elsewhere.  Mr.  Parry  and  I  noticed  to  each  other,  that 
where  the  Aurora  was  very  brilliant,  the  stars  seen  through  it  were  somewhat 
dimmed,  though  this  remark  is  contrary  to  former  experience. 

"  The  distribution  of  light  has  been  described  as  irregular  and  in  constant 
change ;  the  various  masses,  however,  seemed  to  have  a  tendency  to  arrange 
themselves  into  two  arches,  one  passing  near  the  zenith,  and  a  second  about 
midway  between  the  zenith  and  horizon,  both  having  generally  a  north  and 
south  direction,  but  curving  towards  each  other,  so  that  their  legs  produced 
would  complete  an  ellipse;  these  arches  were  as  quickly  dispersed  as 
formed.  At  one  time  a,  part  of  the  arch  near  the  zenith  was  bent  into  con- 
yolutions,  resembling  those  of  a  snake  in  motion,  and  undulating  rapidly  ;  an 
appearance  which  we  had  not  before  observed.  The  end  towards  the  north 
was  also  bent  like  a  shepherd's  crook,  which  is  not  uncommon.  It  is  diffi- 
cult to  compare  the  light  produced  by  an  Aurora  with  that  of  the  moon, 
because  the  shadows  are  rendered  faint  and  indistinct  by  reaspn  of  the  general 


136  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

182a.  diflfusion  of  the  Aurora;  but  I  should  think  the  effect  of  the  one  now  de- 
v^;^^i^'  scribed,  scarcely  equal  to  that  of  the  moon  when  a  week  old.  The  usual 
pale  light  of  the  Aurora  strongly  resembles  that  produced  by  the  combustion 
of  phosphorus ;  a  very  slight  tinge  of  red  was  noticed  on  this  occasion,  when 
the  Aurora  was  most  vivid,  but  no  other  colours  were  visible.  Soon  after  we 
returned  on  board,  the  splendid  part  wholly  disappeared,  leaving  only  the 
ordinary  light  near  the  horizon ;  in  other  respects,  the  night  remained  un- 
changed, but  on  the  following  day  it  blew  a  fresh  gale  from  the  north 
and  N.N.W."  This  Aurora  had  the  appearance  of  being  very  near  us,  and  we 
listened  attentively  for  the  sound  which  is  said  sometimes  to  accompany  bril- 
liant displays  of  this  phenomenon,  but  neither  on  this  nor  on  any  other  oc- 
Sun.  16.  casion,  could  any  be  distinguished.  On  the  following  day,  the  Aurora  was 
repeatedly  seen  for  an  hour  or  two  together,  assuming  the  shape  of  a  long  low 
arch,  from  3°  to  12°  high  in  the  centre,  extending  from  south  to  N.W. 

About  this  time  it  had  been  remarked,  that  a  white  setter  dog  belonging 
to  Mr.  Beverly  had  left  the  Griper  for  several  nights  past  at  the  same 
time,  and  had  regularly  returned  after  some  hours'  absence.  As  the  day- 
light increased,  we  had  frequent  opportunities  of  seeing  him  in  company 
with  a  she-wolf,  with  whom  he  kept  up  an  almost  daily  intercourse  for 
several  weeks,  till  at  length  he  returned  no  more  to  the  ships ;  having  either 
lost  his  way  by  rambling  to  too  great  a  distance,  or  what  is  more  likely, 
perhaps,  been  destroyed  by  the  male  wolves.  Some  time  after,  a  large 
dog  of  mine,  which  was  also  getting  into  the  habit  of  occasionally  remaining 
absent  for  some  time,  returned  on  board  a  good  deal  lacerated  and  covered 
with  blood,  having,  no  doubt,  maintained  a  severe  encounter  with  a  male 
wolf,  whom  we  traced  to  a  considerable  distance  by  the  tracks  on  the 
snow.  An  old  dog,  of  the  Newfoundland  breed,  that  we  had  on  board  the 
Hecla,  was  also  in  the  habit  of  remaining  out  with  the  wolves  for  a  day 
or  two  together;  and  we  frequently  watched  them  keeping  company  on  the 
most  friendly  terms. 
Tues.  25.  A  wolf,  which  crossed  the  harbour  close  to  the  ships  on  the  25th,  was  ob- 
served to  be  almost  entirely  white,  his  body  long  and  extremely  lean,  stand- 
ing higher  on  his  legs  than  any  of  the  Esquimaux  dogs,  but  otherwise  much 
resembling  them ;  his  tail  was  long  and  bushy,  and  always  hanging  between 
his  legs,  and  he  kept  his  head  very  low  in  running.  It  is  extraordinary  that 
we  could  never  succeed  in  killing  or  catching  one  of  these  animals,  though 
we  were,  for  months,  almost  constantly  endeavouring  to  do  so. 


i 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  137 

As  the  time  was  now  near  at  hand  when  the  sun  was  to  re-appear  above  1820. 
our  horizon,  we  began  this  day  to  look  out  for  it  from  the  mast-head,  in  order  .^JilJ^' 
that  some  observations  might  be  made,  as  to  the  amount  of  the  atmospherical 
refraction,  which  might  render  it  visible  to  us  sooner  than  under  ordinary  cir- 
cumstances. For  this  purpose,  and  at  the  same  time  to  avoid  the  frost-bites 
which  might  have  occurred  from  keeping  any  individual  at  the  mast-head 
for  too  long  a  space,  every  man  in  the  ship  was  sent  up  in  succession,  so  as  to 
occupy  the  time  for  ten  minutes  before  and  after  noon  ;  and  this  practice  was 
continued  till  the  sun  appeared  above  the  horizon  from  the  deck,  which  it  did 
not  do  till  nine  days  after  the  commencement  of  it. 

The  loss  of  lemon-juice,  of  which  I  have  before  had  occasion  to  speak,  in 
consequence  of  the  breaking  of  the  bottles  by  frost,  continued  still  to  take  place 
to  so  great  a  degree,  that  it  now  became  absolutely  necessary  to  adopt  some 
measures  for  providing  against  similar  contingencies  in  future,  and  to  pre- 
serve the  remainder ;  I,  therefore,  consulted  Mr.  Edwards  as  to  the  propriety 
of  reducing  the  daily  allowance  of  that  essential  article  to  three-quarters  of 
the  usual  proportion,  being  three-quarters  of  an  ounce  per  man  :  this,  he  was 
of  opinion,  under  all  circumstances,  it  was  expedient  to  do,  in  order  to  ensure 
a  supply  in  those  cases  of  a  scorbutic  nature  which  might  hereafter  occur ; 
and  this  reduction  was  accordingly  ordered  in  both  ships. 

At  half-past  ten  P.M.,  a  complete  halo  of  pale  light  was  observed  round  the  Wed.  26. 
moon,  its  radius  being  22°.40,  and  a  similar  phenomenon  occurred  on   the 
following  night,  about  the    same    time.     These  phenomena  almost   always 
began  to  make  their  appearance  about  the  time  of  full  moon. 

The  weather  was  remarkably  clear  and  fine  on  the  28th,  and  the  sky  beau- 
tifully red  to  the  southward ;  but  we  looked  for  the  sun  from  the  mast-head 
without  success.  Captain  Sabine  remarked  at  noon,  that  none  of  the  fixed  stars, 
even  of  the  first  magnitude,  could  be  seen  by  the  naked  eye  ;  Mars,  however, 
was  plainly  visible,  by  which  some  judgment  may  be  formed  of  the  power  of 
the  sun's  light  at  this  period.  Towards  the  end  of  January  we  began  to  open 
some  of  our  ports,  in  order  to  admit  sufficient  light  for  the  carpenters  and 
armourers  to  work  by,  and  these  were  employed  in  repairing  the  main-top- 
sail-yard, that  we  might  at  least  make  some  shew  of  commencing  our  re-equip- 
ment for  sea. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  the 

Month  of  January,  1820. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 
mum. 

Mini- 
mam. 

Mean. 

Maxi. 

Mini. 

Mean. 

1 

o 
—2 

o 

—28 

—18.33 

inches. 
29.93 

incli   e 
29.72 

inclies. 
29.812 

S.S.E. 

Strong  breezes  and  clear  weather. 

2 

-19 

—29 

—24.58 

29.71 

29.63 

29.673 

E.S.E. 

Moderate  and  hazy  weather. 

3 

—29 

—42 

—34.62 

30.00 

29.73 

20.870 

West  to  S.S.W. 

Light  variable  airs. 

4 

—34 

—44 

-40.17 

30.24 

30.03 

30.132 

N.b.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine  clear  weather. 

5 

—26 

-35 

—32.00 

30.23 

30.20 

30.207 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

6 

-22 

—33 

-28.58 

30.16 

30.09 

30.119 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy,  to  fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

7 

-32 

—40 

—37.67 

30.10 

30.03 

30.068 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine  weather. 

8 

—33 

-38 

—35,83 

30.11 

29.87 

_30.025 

N.N.W. 

Ditto       with  drift  snow. 

9 

—33 

-35 

—34.42 

30.31 

30.10 

30.220 

W.N.W.  to  S.E. 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

10 

—32 

—43 

-36.17 

30.35 

30.34 

30.345 

S.E. 

Ditto                     ditto. 

11 

—43 

—46 

—44.42 

30.33 

30.25 

30.287 

i     A.M.,  Calm.     > 
i  P.M.,  N.N.W.    S 

Fine  weather. 

P.M.    Light  airs  and  fine. 

12 

-42 

-47 

—44.71 

30.24 

30.10 

30.168 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  to  strong  breezes— fine  weather. 

13 

—40.5 

—17 

—45.29 

30.31 

30.26 

30.288 

W.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

14 

—32 

—40 

—35.08 

30.20 

30.18 

30.193 

N.b.W. 

Strong  breezes  :— much  drift. 

15 

-34 

-39 

—35.73 

30.51 

30.20 

30.335 

East. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

10 

-34 

—39 

—37.08 

30.77 

30.65 

30.701 

N.N.E. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

17 

-16 

—34 

—24.60 

30.59 

30.29 

30.438 

North. 

Strong  gales  and  hazy— heavy  drift. 

18 

—  5 

—15 

—10.25 

30.25 

30.15 

30.202 

North. 

5  A.M.,  Strong  gales  with  heavy  drift. 
I  P.M.,  More  moderate. 

19 

—  8 

— 2S 

—17.50 

30.25 

30.19 

30.223 

South  to  N.W. 

Light  variable  airs  and  hazy  weather. 

20 

-10 

—31 

—24.46 

30.13 

po.io 

30.117 

East. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

21 

—16 

—23 

—19.00 

30.09 

30.01 

30.008 

North. 

fA.M.    Ditto        ditto. 

\  P.M.  Fresh  breezes  with  heavy  drift. 

22 

-22 

—29 

—26.00 

30.15 

30.06 

30.107 

N.b.W. 

Strong  breezes  with  much  drift. 

23 

—18 

—26 

—22.50 

30.11 

30.06 

30.093 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  to  strong  breezes  with  heavy  drift. 

24 

—20 

—28 

—24.83 

29.87 

29.59 

29.695 

N.NW. 

Fresh  gales  and  squally. 

25 

—23 

—30 

—26.42 

29.69 

29.66 

29.677 

North. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

26 

-26 

—36 

—31.17 

29.75 

29.67 

29.701 

North. ' 

Fresh  breezes  to  light  breezes. 

27 

—32 

-36 

—33.96 

29.90 

29.75 

29.827 

North. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

28 

—35 

—39 

—37.23 

30.14 

29.94 

30  .055 

N.b.W. 

Light  to  strong  breezes— clear  weather. 

29 

—19 

—33 

—26.12 

30.11 

29.94 

30.041 

North. 

Moderate  and  fine  weather. 

30 

-19 

—20 

—19.58 

29.93 

29.90 

29.907 

North  to  W.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

31 

-23 

—28 

—24.54 

29.85 

29.83 

29.810 

W.N.W.  to  East. 

Light  airs  and  hazy. 

- 

—47 

—30.09 

30.77 

29.59 

30.078 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  139 

On  the  1st  and  2d  of  February  the  weather  was  rather  hazy,  so  that  the  1820. 
sun  could  not  have  been  seen  had  it  been  above  the  horizon,  but  the  3d  v^A^ 
was  a  beautifully  clear  and  calm  day.  At  eight  A.M.,  a  cross,  consisting  ofi'hurs.  3. 
the  usual  vertical  and  horizontal  rays,  was  seen  about  the  moon.  At  twenty 
minutes  before  apparent  noon,  the  sun  was  seen  from  the  Hecla's  main-top,  at 
the  height  of  fifty-one  feet  above  the  sea,  being  the  first  time  that  this 
luminary  had  been  visible  to  us  since  the  11th  of  November,  a  period  of 
eighty-four  days,  being  twelve  days  less  than  the  time  of  its  remaining 
actually  beneath  the  horizon,  independently  of  the  effects  of  atmospherical 
refraction.  On  ascending  the  main-top,  1  found  the  sun  to  be  plainly  visible 
over  the  land  to  the  south  ;  but  at  noon  there  was  a  dusky  sort  of  cloud 
hanging  about  the  horizon,  which  prevented  our  seeing  any  thing  like  a 
defined  limb,  so  as  to  measure  or  estimate  its  altitude  correctly.  The  sun 
appeared,  however,  to  be  about  half  its  diameter  above  the  land,  and  the 
top  of  the  land  was  4'  30"  above  the  horizon  of  the  sea,  by  which  the 
whole  amount  of  refraction  would  appear  to  have  been  1°  24!  04" ;  in  which 
there  is  nothing  very  extraordinary  in  this  latitude  and  low  temperature  ;  that 
of  the  atmosphere  at  this  time  was  — 38°,  and  the  mercury  in  the  barometer 
stood  at  29.96  inches,  the  smoke  from  the  fires  on  board  rising  quite  perpendi- 
cularly, which  was  not  usually  the  case  under  similar  circumstances.  A  vertical 
column  of  pale  red  light  extended  from  the  upper  part  of  the  sun's  disc  to 
about  3°  of  altitude  ;  its  intensity  was  observed  to  be  constantly  varying, 
being  at  times  very  bright,  at  others,  scarcely  perceptible.  In  these  chano-es, 
which  were  exceedingly  rapid,  it  was  not  unlike  the  Aurora  Borealis,  the  lio-ht 
always  appearing  to  shoot  upwards,  as  is  most  usual  in  that  phenomenon.  The 
breadth  of  this  column,  which  was  visible  for  about  three-quarters  of  an  hour 
before  and  after  noon,  was  equal  to  that  of  the  sun's  diameter,  and  it  was 
much  the  brightest  next  the  sun.  A  similar  column  of  light  had  also  been 
observed  by  Captain  Sabine,  at  ten  A.M.,  immediately  over  the  spot  where 
the  sun  was. 

On  several  occasions,  in  the  course  of  the  winter,  there  was  an  appear- 
ance in  the  southern  horizon  very  much  resembling  land  at  a  great  distance. 
This  appearance  was  to-day  unusually  well  defined,  and  seemed  to  terminate 
in  a  very  abrupt  and  decided  manner,  on  a  S.  b.  E.  bearing  from  Winter 
Harbour. 

At  six  P.M.  the  Aurora  Borealis  appeared  very  faintly  in  a  horizontal  line 


140  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    of  white  light,  extending  from  S.  to  S.S.W.,  and  about  5°  above  the  horizon, 
v.^.^-^  From  nine  to  eleven,  it  was  again  seen  quite  stationary,  and  very  faint,  from 
S.S.W.  to  W.N.W.,  at  three  or  four  degrees  of  altitude. 

Captain  Sabine  had,  for  some  time  past,  kept  one  of  the  needles  used  for 
determining  the  intensity  of  the  magnetic  force,  suspended  by  a  silk  thread 
in  the  observatory,  for  the  purpose  of  remarking  more  satisfactorily  than  it 
could  be  done  on  board  the  ships,  whether  any  effect  was  produced  upon  it 
by  the  Aurora  Borealis.  It  might  be  supposed  that,  in  these  regions,  where 
the  directive  power  of  the  needle  had  almost  entirely  ceased,  it  would  be 
more  easily  disturbed  by  any  adventitious  cause,  than  in  those  parts  of  the 
globe  where  the  directive  energy  was  greater ;  but  we  never  could  perceive 
the  slightest  derangement  to  be  produced  in  it  by  the  Aurora. 
Frid.  4.  On  the  4ith  we  had  another  sight  of  the  sun,  which  was  so  distorted  by 
refraction,  that  nothing  like  a  circular  disk  could  at  any  time  be  distinguished. 
At  noon  a  thermometer,  plunged  into  a  bank  of  snow  to  the  depth  of  two 
feet,  indicated  the  temperature  of  —  12°,  that  of  the  atmosphere  being 
—  38°.  The  temperature  of  the  sea-water  was  29°  in  the  fire-hole  alongside 
the  Hecla,  and  that  of  her  holds  varied  from  25°  to  22°,  the  aftermost  being 
progressively  the  warmest.  There  was  to-day  an  unusual  kind  of  mist  in  the 
lower  part  of  the  atmosphere,  which  was  at  times  so  thick,  that  the  ships 
could  scarcely  be  seen  at  the  distance  of  two  miles.  It  was  a  matter  of 
frequent  remark  with  us,  that,  even  on  the  clearest  winter  days  of  this 
climate,  there  was  usually  a  considerable  deposit  of  very  light  snow,  which 
was  scarcely  perceptible,  except  when  interposed  between  the  eye  and  any 
dark  object,  or  by  the  quantity  of  it  which  settled  on  any  instrument  left  to 
stand  in  the  open  air :  nor  do  1  think  that  the  heavenly  bodies  were  ever  so 
clearly  visible  as  they  are  on  a  winter's  night  in  England. 
Mon.  7.  At  noon  on  the  7th,  we  had  the  first  clear  view  of  the  sun  which  we  had 
yet  enjoyed  since  its  re-appearance  above  our  horizon,  and  an  indistinct 
parhelion,  or  mock  sun,  slightly  prismatic,  was  seen  on  the  eastern  side  of 
it,  at  the  distance  of  22°. 

There  was  now  sufficient  day-light,  from  eight  o'clock  till  four  to  enable 
us  to  perform,  with  great  facility,  any  work  outside  the  ships.  1  was  not 
sorry,  therefore,  to  commence  upon  some  of  the  occupations  more  immediately 
connected  with  the  equipment  of  the  ships  for  sea,  than  those  to  which  we 
had  hitherto  been  obliged  to  have  recourse  as  mere  employment.  We, 
therefore,  began  this  day  to  collect  stones  for  ballast,  of  which  it  was  calcu- 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  141 

lated  that  the  Hecla  would  require,  in  the  spring,  nearly  seventy  tons,  besides  1820. 
twenty  tons  of  additional  water,  to  make  up  for  the  loss  of  weight  by  the  ^^ 
expenditure  of  provisions  and  stores.  These  stones  were  brought  down  on 
sledges  about  half  a  mile  to  the  beach,  where  they  were  broken  into  a  con- 
venient size  for  stowage,  and  then  weighed  in  scales,  erected  on  the  beach 
for  the  purpose  ;  thus  affording  to  the  men  a  considerable  quantity  of  bodily 
exercise,  whenever  the  weather  would  permit  them  to  be  so  employed. 

As  we  were  now,  however,  approaching  the  coldest  part  of  the  season,  it 
became  more  essential  than  ever  to  use  the  utmost  caution  in  allowing  the 
men  to  remain  for  any  length  of  time  in  the  open  air,  on  account  of  the  injury 
to  their  general  health,  which  was  likely  to  result  from  the  inactivity  requisite 
to  the  cure  of  some  of  the  most  trifling  frost-bites.  Mr.  Edwards  has  favoured 
me  with  the  following  brief  account  of  such  cases  of  this  nature  as  occurred 
on  board  the  Hecla: — "  The  majority  of  the  men  who  came  into  the  sick-list, 
in  consequence  of  frost-injuries  during  the  severity  of  the  winter,  suffered 
mostly  in  their  feet,  and  especially  in  their  great  toes  ;  and,  although  none 
of  them  were  so  unfortunate  as  to  lose  a  toe,  yet  few  cures  were  effected 
without  the  loss  of  the  nail  and  cuticle,  in  which  the  vital  power  was  inva 
riably  destroyed.  The  exfoliation  of  these  dead  parts  was  always  slow,  and 
often  attended  with  small  ulcerations  at  the  extremity  of  the  toe.  The  com- 
paratively languid  action  which  is  always  going  on  in  the  feet,  owing  to  their 
dependent  situation,  and  their  remoteness  from  the  centre  of  circulation,  is 
much  increased  by  the  rigour  of  so  severe  a  climate,  and  also  by  the  state  of 
inactivity  in  which  it  is  necessary  to  keep  the  patient ;  so  that  these  trifling 
sores  were  found  to  heal  with  extreme  difficulty.  Occasional  neglio-ence  and 
irregularities  in  the  patients  also  served  at  times  to  protract  the  cure.  It  may 
further  be  observed,  that  the  ulcerations  alluded  to  seldom  took  place,  even 
in  some  of  the  more  severe  cases,  when  circumstances  would  allow  of  timely 
attention  being  paid  to  them." 

On  the  8th,  at  noon,  and  for  half  an  hour  after,  an  appearance  presented  Tues.8. 
itself  in  the  heavens,  which  we  had  not  before  observed.  A  thin  fleecy 
cloud  of  a  pale-red  colour,  and  shaped  like  part  of  an  arch,  commenced 
pretty  strongly  from  the  top  of  the  land  in  the  N.W.,  and  ran  more  and  more 
faintly  to  N.b.W.,  beyond  which  it  could  no  longer  be  traced :  it  was  here 
fifteen  degrees  above  the  northern  horizon.  On  looking  for  a  continuation  of  it 
in  the  opposite  quarter  of  the  heavens,  we  perceived  a  larger  portion  of  another 
and  fainter  arch,  of  pale,  red,  or  orange,  commencing  at  the  horizon  in  the 


14^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  E.b.N.,  and  extending  to  60°  of  altitude  in  the  N.N.E.,  so  as  evidently  not 
s,^^^  to  form  a  part  of  the  western  arch.  Captain  Sabine  afterwards  observed 
the  whole  phenomenon  to  alter  its  position,  the  leg  of  the  eastern  arch 
shifting  considerably  more  to  the  southward.  In  the  evening  the  Aurora 
Borealis  was  seen,  forming  a  confused  and  irregular  arch  of  white  light,  con- 
tinually varying  in  brightness,  about  8°  high  in  the  centre,  and  extending 
from  S.b.E.,  round  by  the  west,  to  N.N.W.  From  the  upper  part  of  this  arch, 
coruscations  occasionally  shot  upwards,  and  a  few  streamers  now  and  then 
burst  forth  also  from  the  horizon  in  the  S.S.E. ;  these  latter  went  nearly  up 
to  the  zenith,  while  the  rest  were  more  faint,  and  did  not  reach  so  high. 
I  am  confident,  that  Aldebaran  and  the  Pleiades  were  very  sensibly  dimmed 
by  the  most  vivid  of  the  coruscations,  which  appeared,  in  this  respect, 
not  to  differ  from  any  thin  vapour  or  cloud  floating  in  the  atmosphere. 
The  gold  leaf  of  the  electrometer,  as  well  as  the  magnetic  needle  suspended 
in  the  observatory,  was  carefully  attended  to,  but  neither  of  them  suf- 
fered any  sensible  disturbance. 
Wed.  9.  .  Early  on  the  following  morning,  the  wind  increased  from  the  N.N.W.,  and 
continued  to  blow  a  strong  breeze  from  that  quarter,  with  a  heavy  snow-drift, 
Thur,  10.  till  towards  noon,  on  the  10th.  At  a  quarter  past  six  P.M.,  on  that  day,  the 
Aurora  began  to  appear  in  the  south  and  S.W.,  in  detached,  and  not  very 
brilliant  pencils  of  rays  darting  upwards  from  near  the  horizon.  Soon  after, 
an  arch  of  the  usual  broken  and  irregular  kind  appeared  in  the  western 
quarter  of  the  heavens,  extending  from  N.W.  to  south,  and  being  from  5° 
to  8°  high  in  the  centre.  From  the  upper  part  of  the  arch  proceeded  a  few 
faint  coruscations  reaching  to  no  great  height.  At  a  quarter  before  seven, 
a  second  and  better-defined  arch  crossed  over  from  S.E.  to  N.W.b.N., 
passing  on  the  northern  side  of  the  zenith,  from  which  it  was  distant  from 
10°  to  15°  in  the  centre.  This  arch  was  very  narrow,  and  seemed  to  be 
formed  of  two  parts,  each  shooting  with  great  rapidity  from  those  parts  where 
the  legs  stood,  and  joining  in  the  centre.  In  a  short  time  this  second  arch  en- 
tirely disappeared,  and  the  first  became  less  brilliant.  The  phenomenon 
was  then  for  some  minutes  confined  to  some  bright  pencils  of  rays  in  the 
south  and  S.S.E. ,  which  were  generally  parallel  to  each  other,  but  sometimes 
also  diverged  at  an  angle  of  about  15°.  At  a  quarter  past  seven,  two  long 
and  narrow  streams  of  light  crossed  over  at  35°  to  40°  of  altitude,  on  the 
western  side  of  the  zenith,  from  the  N.W.b.N.,  and  south  points  of  the 
horizon ;  their  upper  e^rids  did  not  quite  meet  in  the  centre,  so  as  to  complete 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  143 

an  arch,  but  inclined  to  the  shape  of  shepherds'  crooks,  as  described  on  I820. 
the  15th  of  January,  and  often  remarked  by  former  observers ;  but  they  .^J^ 
were  neither  so  brilliant  nor  so  well-defined  as  when  we  saw  them  before. 
About  a  quarter  before  eight,  as  we  were  returning  on  board  from  the 
observatory,  the  low  arch  to  the  westward  first  described,  and  which 
had  never  altogether  disappeared,  increased  considerably  in  brilliancy. 
It  was  still,  however,  so  irregular  as  to  appear  in  detached  roundish 
clouds  or  blotches,  from  which  the  pencils,  which  shot  upwards,  appeared 
immediately  to  proceed.  These  pencils,  which  were  infinitely  varied 
both  in  length  and  breadth,  were  observed  to  have  also  a  slow,  though  very 
sensible  lateral  motion  from  north  to  south,  and  vice  versa  ;  and  we  remarked 
on  one  occasion  that,  when  two  of  them  met,  and  had  the  appearance  of  over- 
lapping, they  produced,  for  about  fifteen  seconds,  the  most  intense  degree 
of  light  we  had  yet  seen  from  the  Aurora.  The  pencils  appeared  generally 
to  travel  bodily  in  one  direction,  but  sometimes  to  widen  out  in  both  at  the 
same  time.  We  were  all  decidedly  of  opinion,  that  the  fixed  stars  were 
very  perceptibly  duumed  by  this  phenomenon,  which  gradually  disappeared 
by  nine  o'clock. 

It  was  a  source  of  much  satisfaction  to  find,  at  noon  to-day,  that  the  sun,  Frid.  U. 
even  with   one  degree  of  meridian  altitude,  had  some  power  to  affect  the 
mercury  in  the  thermometer,  which  rose  from  —40°  to  —35°  when  exposed  to 
its  rays  ;  and,  as  the   sun  gradually  declined,    it  fell   again  to   —40°  in  an 
hour  or  two. 

The  distance  at  which  sounds  were  heard  in  the  open  air,  during  the 
continuance  of  intense  cold,  was  so  great  as  constantly  to  aftbrd  matter  of 
surprise  to  us,  notwithstanding  the  frequency  with  which  we  had  occasion  to 
remark  it.  We  have,  for  instance,  often  heard  people  distinctly  conversing, 
in  a  common  tone  of  voice,  at  the  distance  of  a  mile  ;  and  to-day  I  heard  a  man 
singing  to  himself  as  he  walked  along  the  beach,  at  even  a  greater  distance 
than  this.  Another  circumstance  also  occurred  to-day,  which  may  perhaps 
be  considered  worthy  of  notice.  Lieutenant  Beechey,  and  Messrs.  Beverly 
and  Fisher,  in  the  course  of  a  walk  which  led  them  to  a  part  of  the  harbour, 
about  two  miles  directly  to  leeward  of  the  ships,  were  surprised  by  suddenly 
perceiving  a  smell  of  smoke,  so  strong  as  even  to  impede  their  breathing,  till, 
by  walking  on  a  little  farther,  they  got  rid  of  it.  This  circumstance  shews  to 
what  a  distance  the  smoke  from  the  ships  was  carried  horizontally,  owing 
to  the  difficulty  with  which  it  rises  at  a  very  low   temperature  of  the  at- 


144  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  mosphere.  The  appearance  which  had  often  been  taken  for  the  loom  of 
v^^-v-sl/  distant  and  much  refracted  land  in  the  south  and  S.b.E.,  was  again  seen 
to-day,  having  the  same  abrupt  termination  at  tlie  latter  bearing  as  before. 
At  half-past  eight  P.M.,  the  Aurora  Borealis  made  its  appearance  for  a  short 
time,  in  an  arch,  very  irregular,  but  at  times  very  bright,  from  S.W.  to  S.S.E., 
at  4°  or  5°  above  the  horizon  in  the  centre. 
Sat.  12.  It  may  perhaps  be  attributed  to  the  long  absence  of  the  sun  which  we 
had  lately  experienced,  and  which  may  have  disqualified  us  from  forming  a 
correct  judgment,  that  we  considered  the  orange  and  lake  tints  with  which 
the  sky  was  painted  about  this  period,  for  two  hours  before  and  after  noon, 
to  be  more  rich  and  beautiful  than  any  thing  of  the  kind  we  had  ever  before 
seen.  The  few  fleecy  clouds  which  at  any  time  make  their  appearance  in 
the  heavens  during  the  winter-months  of  this  climate,  had  to-day,  as  before 
observed  on  the  Sth,  a  tendency  to  form  arches  both  in  the  northern  and 
southern  quarters,  extending  from  east  to  west,  at  10°  of  altitude  in  the  north, 
and  5°  or  6°  in  the  south.  A  thermometer  placed  in  the  sun  at  noon  rose 
quickly  from  —42°  to  —  30|°  on  board,  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  at 
the  house  being  45°,  and  the  weather  calm  and  clear. 

Sun.  13.  At  three  A.M.,  on  the  13th,  on  a  light  breeze  springing  up  from  the 
southward,  the  thermometer  was  observed  to  rise  immediately  from  —40°  to 
—  37°.  For  a  short  time  before  and  after  noon,  a  parhelion  was  seen  at  the 
angular  distance  of  22°  30'  on  each  side  of  the  sun,  at  the  same  altitude 
Avith  the  latter ;  these  parhelia  were  of  a  confused  shape,  but  strongly  pris- 
matic. There  was  at  the  same  time,  also,  a  column  of  bright  yellow  light 
proceeding  from  the  sun  to  the  horizon,  of  the  same  diameter  as  that 
object. 

Mod.  14.  I  have  before  remarked,  that,  in  consequence  of  a  comparatively  wann  at- 
mosphere which  was  always  floating  around  the  ships,  the  thermometer  on 
board,  by  which  the  temperature  was  noted  every  two  hours,  usually  stood 
from  2°  to  5°  higher  than  that  fixed  on  shore,  in  consequence  of  which  cir- 
cumstance, the  whole  of  the  temperatures,  in  our  Meteorological  Journals, 
may  be  taken  at  least  2°  or  3°  lower  than  those  actually  registered,  except  in 
a  few  instances,  which  are  there  expressly  noticed.  The  temperature  of  the 
atmosphere  having  now  fallen  below  the  usual  standard,  it  became  interest- 
ing to  watch  this  difference  more  minutely,  and  at  six  A.M.,  on  the  14th,  the 
thermometer  at  the  house  was  at  —52°,  that  on  board  being  at  —48°,  at 
which  time  the  smoke  from  the  funnels  rose  very  freely,  with  the   mercury 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  145 

in  the  barometer  standing  at  29.53  inches.     This  additional  decrease  in  the    1820. 
temperature  of  the  atmosphere  caused  a  repetition  of  that  cracking  of  the  v.*-v^ 
ship's  timbers  which  had  before  occurred,  but  which  had  ceased  for  some  time 
past.     At  noon  the  thermometer  in  the  shade  rose  one  degree,   and  at  two 
P.M.,  fell  again  to  -52°. 

Two  of  the  Hecla's  marines  having  been  guilty  of  drunkenness  the  pre- 
ceding night,  an  offence  which,  under  any  circumstances,  it  was  my  duty  to 
prevent,  but  which,  if  permitted  to  pass  unnoticed,  might,  in  our  present 
situation,  have  been  attended  with  the  most  serious  consequences  to  our 
health  as  well  as  our  discipline,  I  was  under  the  necessity  of  punishing  them 
this  morning  with  thirty-six  lashes  each  ;  being  the  first  occasion  on  which  I 
had  considered  it  necessary  to  inflict  corporal  punishment  during  thirteen 
months  that  the  Hecla  had  been  in  commission,  a  fact  which  I  have  much 
satisfaction  in  recording,  as  extremely  creditable  to  her  crew. 

From  four  P.M.  on  the  14-th,  till  half-past  seven  on  the  following  morning,  Tues.  i5. 
being  an  interval  of  fifteen  hours  and  a  half,  during  which  time  the  weather 
was  clear  and  nearly  calm,  a  thermometer  fixed  on  a  pole,  between  the  ships 
and  the  shore,  never  rose  above  —54°,  and  was  once  during  that  interval, 
namely,  at  six  in  the  morning,  as  low  as  —55°.  This  low  temperature  might, 
perhaps,  have  continued  much  longer,  but  for  a  light  breeze  which  sprung 
up  from  the  northward,  immediately  on  which  the  thermometer  rose  to  —49°, 
and  continued  still  to  rise  during  the  day,  till  at  midnight  it  had  reached 
—  34°.  During  the  lowest  temperature  above  mentioned,  which  was  the  most 
intense  degree  of  cold,  marked  by  the  spirit  thermometer,  during  our  stay  in 
Winter  Harbour,  not  the  slightest  inconvenience  was  suffered  from  exposure 
to  the  open  air,  by  a  person  well  clothed,  as  long  as  the  weather  was  per- 
fectly calm  ;  but,  in  walking  against  a  very  light  air  of  wind,  a  smarting 
sensation  was  experienced  all  over  the  face,  accompanied  by  a  pain  in  the 
middle  of  the  forehead,  which  soon  became  rather  severe.  We  amused  our- 
selves in  freezing  some  mercury  during  the  continuance  of  this  cold  weather, 
and,  by  beating  it  out  on  an  anvil,  previously  reduced  to  the  temperature  of 
the  atmosphere  ;  it  didi  not  appear  to  be  very  malleable  when  in  this  state, 
usually  breaking  after  two  or  three  blows  from  the  hammer. 

The  increased  length  of  the  day,  and  the  cheering  presence  of  the  sun  for 
several  hours  above  the  horizon,  induced  me,  notwithstanding  the  severity  of 
the  weather,  to  open  the  dead-lights  of  my  stern-windows,  in  order  to  admit 
the   day-light,  of  which,  in  our  occupations   below,   we  had  entirely    been 

u 


14fi  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    deprived  for  more  than  four  months.     I  had  soon,  however,  occasion  to  find 
Febr. 

that  this  change  was  rather  premature,  and  that  I  had  not  rightly  calculated 


on  the  length  of  the  winter  in  Melville  Island.  The  Hecla  was  fitted  with 
double  windows  in  her  stern,  the  interval  between  the  two  sashes  being 
about  two  feet ;  and  within  these  some  curtains  of  baize  had  been  nailed 
close,  in  the  early  part  of  the  winter.  On  endeavouring  now  to  remove  the 
curtains,  they  were  found  to  be  so  strongly  cemented  to  the  windows  by  the 
frozen  vapour  collected  between  them,  that  it  was  necessary  to  cut  them  off, 
in  order  to  open  the  windows  ;  and  from  the  space  between  the  double  sashes 
we  removed  more  than  twelve  large  buckets  full  of  ice,  or  frozen  vapour, 
which  had  accumulated  in  the  same  manner. 

Wed.  16.  About  noon,  on  the  16th,  a  parhelion  faintly  prismatic,  appeared  on  each 
side  of  the  sun,  continuing  only  for  half  an  hour.  Notwithstanding  the  low 
temperature  of  the  external  atmosphere,  the  officers  contrived  to  act,  as  usual, 
the  play  announced  for  this  evening ;  but,  it  must  be  confessed  that  it  was 
almost  too  cold  for  either  the  actors  or  the  audience  to  enjoy  it,  especially 
for  those  of  the  former  who  undertook  to  appear  in  female  dresses.  We  were 
fortunate,  however,  in  having  the  weather  moderate  as  to  wind,  during  our 
performance  ;  for,  on  its  freshening  up  soon  after  to  a  strong  gale  from  the 
N.W.,  which,  together  with  a  heavy  snow-drift,  continued  the  whole  of  the 

Thur.  17.  following  day,  the  thermometer  did  not  rise  higher  than  —36°;  a  change 
that  made  the  Hecla  colder  in  every  part  below  than  she  had  ever  been 
before.  The  temperature  of  the  lower  deck  now  fell  to  +  34°  for  the  greater 
part  of  the  day,  that  of  the  coal-hole  to  + 15°,  of  the  spirit-room  to  -I-  23°,  and 
of  my  cabin,  as  low  as  +7°  during  the  night,  by  which  the  chronometers, 
Nos.  25  and  369,  of  Arnold  were  stopped.  Much  as  I  regretted  this  cir- 
cumstance, it  was  impossible  to  prevent  it  without  such  an  increase  in 
the  quantity  of  fuel  as  our  resources,  when  calculating  upon  the  chances  of 
spending  another  winter  in  these  regions,  would  by  no  means  admit. 
Captain  Sabine  and  myself,  therefore,  agreed,  that  it  was  better  to  let 
these  watches  remain  down,  during  the  continuance  of  the  severe  cold,  which 
was  accordingly  done. 

The  intense  cold  now  experienced  on  board  the  Hecla,  seems  to  have 
arisen  principally  from  my  having  prematurely  uncovered  the  stern  win- 
dows, which  I  had  been  induced  to  do,  not  less  from  the  impatience  which 
I  felt  to  enjoy  the  cheering  rays  of  the  sun  for  eight  hours  of  the 
day,  than  on  account  of  the  saving  of  candles,  the  expenditure    of  which 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  147 

had  hitherto  been  much  greater  than  we  could  well  afford.  In  the  constant 
hope  that  each  succeeding  day  would  produce  some  amendment  in  the 
weather,  we  endeavoured  contentedly  to  put  up  with  the  cold,  which,  how- 
ever, continued  to  be  so  intense  in  the  cabin  for  several  weeks  after  this, 
that  it  was  impossible  to  sit  there  without  being  warmly  wrapped  up ;  and 
it  was  not  uncommon  for  us,  at  this  period,  to  reverse  the  usual  order  of 
things,  by  throwing  off  our  great  coats  when  we  went  on  deck  to  warm  our- 
selves by  exercise  (the  only  mode  we  had  of  doing  so),  and  immediately  re- 
suming them  on  coming  below.  On  many  of  these  occasions  I  have  seen  a 
thermometer  placed  at  our  feet,  standing  the  whole  day  under  -t- 19°,  and 
sometimes  lower,  while  another,  suspended  in  the  upper  part  of  the  cabin 
would,  at  the  same  time,  indicate  32°  or  34°,  but  seldom  higher  than  this.  We 
had,  about  this  time,  two  cases  of  lumbago  and  one  of  diarrhoea  added  to 
the  sick  list,  which  Mr.  Edwards  considered  to  have  been  brought  on  by  the 
coldness  of  the  decks  below  ;  in  one  of  these  cases,  some  scorbutic  symptoms 
subsequently  appeared,  which  yielded  without  much  difficulty  to  the  usual 
remedies.  Mr.  Scallon  had,  before  this  time,  completely  recovered.  The 
bed-places  continuing  very  troublesome,  from  the  accumulation  of  ice  in 
them,  several  of  the  men  were  ordered  to  sleep  in  hammocks,  which  are 
much  more  warm  and  comfortable ;  but  they  had  been  so  long  accustomed  to 
the  bed-plaCes,  that  there  was,  in  this  respect,  a  good  deal  of  prejudice  to 
overcome  among  them. 

At  half-past  ten  P.M.  on  the  19th,  the  Aurora  Borealis  was  seen,  as  Sat.  19, 
described  by  Lieutenant  Beechey,  "  in  bright  coruscations,  shooting  prin- 
cipally from  the  S.b.W.  quarter  across  the  zenith  to  N.N.E.,  and  partially 
in  every  part  of  the  heavens.  The  light,  when  most  vivid,  was  of  a  pale 
yellow,  at  other  times  white,  excepting  to  the  southward,  in  which  direction 
a  dull  red  tinge  was  now  and  then  perceptible.  The  coruscations  had  a 
tremulous  waving  motion,  and  most  of  them  were  crooked  towards  the  E.N.E. 
The  fresh  gale  which  blew  at  the  time  from  the  N.N.E.,  appeared  to  have 
no  effect  on  the  Aurora,  which,  as  before  observed,  streamed  directly  to 
windward,  and  this  with  great  velocity.  The  brighter  part  of  this  meteor 
dimmed  whatever  stars  it  passed  over,  even  those  of  the  first  magnitude ; 
and  those  of  the  second  and  third  magnitude,  so  much  as  to  render  them 
scarcely  visible.  The  wind  blew  too  strong  for  the  electrometer  to  be  used, 
but  Kater's  compass  was  not  in  the  slightest  degree  affected.  The  whole  of 
the  phenomenon  disappeared  in  about  three  quarters  of  an  hour." 


14.8  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

jg2o  On  the  22d,  the  weather  was  fine  and  clear,  and  though  the  thermometer 
Febr.    continued  from  —  34°  to  —  36°  in  the  shade,  and  only  rose  to  —  23|°  in  the 

Tues.  22.  sun  at  two  P.M.,  the  walking  was  unusually  pleasant  to  our  feelings.  With 
our  present  temperature,  the  breath  of  a  person,  at  a  little  distance,  looked 
exactly  like  the  smoke  of  a  musket  just  fired,  and  that  of  a  party  of  men 
employed  upon  the  ice  to-day  resembled  a  thick  white  cloud. 

Thur.  24.  The  weather  was  still  fine  and  clear  overhead  on  the  24th,  but  there  being 
a  moderate  breeze  from  the  northward  which  raised  a  little  snow-drift,  with 
the  thennometer  from  —  43°  to  —  44°  during  the  day,  it  was  very  severe  in 
the  open  air.  At  a  quarter  past  ten,  while  the  men  were  running  round  the 
decks  for  exercise,  and  were  on  that  account  fortunately  well-clothed,  the 
house  on  shore  was  discovered  to  be  on  fire.  All  the  officers,  and  men  of 
both  ships,  instantly  ran  up  to  extinguish  it ;  and  having,  by  great  exertion, 
pulled  ofi'  the  roof  with  ropes,  and  knocked  down  a  part  of  the  sides,  so  as 
to  allow  snow  to  be  thrown  upon  the  flames,  we  succeeded  in  getting  it 
under,  after  three  quarters  of  an  hour,  and  fortunately  before  the  fire  had 
reached  that  end  of  the  house  where  the  two  clocks,  together  with  the  transit, 
and  other  valuable  instruments,  were  standing  in  their  cases.  Having  removed 
these,  and  covered  the  ruins  with  snow,  to  prevent  any  remains  of  fire  from 
breaking  out  again,  we  returned  on  board  till  more  temperate  weather  should 
enable  us  to  dig  out  the  rest  of  the  things,  among  which  nothing  of  any 
material  consequence  was  subsequently  found  to  have  suflfered  injury ;  and, 
having  mustered  the  ships'  companies  to  see  that  they  had  put  on  dry  clothes 
before  going  to  dinner,  they  were  employed  during  the  rest  of  the  day  in 
drying  those  which  had  been  wet.  The  appearance  which  our  faces  pre- 
sented at  the  fire  was  a  curious  one,  almost  every  nose  and  cheek  having 
become  quite  white  with  frost-bites  in  five  minutes  after  being  exposed  to  the 
weather;  so  that  it  was  deemed  necessary  for  the  medical  gentlemen,  together 
with  some  others  appointed  to  assist  them,  to  go  constantly  round,  while  the 
men  were  working  at  the  fire,  and  to  rub  with  snow  the  parts  affected,  in 
order  to  restore  animation.  Notwithstanding  this  precaution,  which,  how- 
ever, saved  many  frost-bites,  we  had  an  addition  of  no  less  than  sixteen 
men  to  the  sick-lists  of  both  ships  in  consequence  of  this  accident.  Among 
these  there  were  four  or  five  cases  which  kept  the  patients  confined  for 
several  weeks ;  but  John  Smith,  of  the  artillery,  who  was  Captain  Sabine's 
servant,  and  who,  together  with  Serjeant  Martin,  happened  to  be  in  the  house 
at  the  time  the  fire  broke  out,  was  unfortunate  enough  to  suffer  much  more 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  149 

severely.  In  their  anxiety  to  save  the  dipping-needle,  which  was  standing  i820. 
close  to  the  stove,  and  of  which  they  knew  the  value,  they  immediately  ran  ^'^'""• 
out  with  it ;  and  Smith,  not  having  time  to  put  on  his  gloves,  had  his  fingers 
in  half  an  hour  so  benumbed,  and  the  animation  so  completely  suspended,  that 
on  his  being  taken  on  board  by  Mr.  Edwards,  and  having  his  hands  plunged, 
into  a  basin  of  cold  water,  the  surface  of  the  water  was  immediately  frozen 
by  the  intense  cold  thus  suddenly  communicated  to  it ;  and,  notwithstanding 
the  most  humane  and  unremitting  attention  paid  to  them  by  the  medical  gen- 
tlemen, it  was  found  necessary,  some  time  after,  to  resort  to  the  amputation 
of  a  part  of  four  fingers  on  one  hand  and  three  on  the  other. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  th 

e  Month  oi  February,  1820. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prerailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 
mum. 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini. 

Mean. 

1 

-f7 

-2% 

-  20.87 

inclies. 
29.88 

inclies. 
29.82 

inches. 
29.850 

S.b.E. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

2 

27 

38 

31.75 

29.92 

29.88 

29.902 

S.E. 

Ditto           ditto. 

3 

35 

44 

39.58 

30.01 

29.92 

29.963 

Round  the  Compass. 

Ditto  and  fine  clear  weather. 

4 

37 

44.5 

39.96 

30.02 

29.97 

30.005 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  to  fresh  breezes. 

5 

20 

37 

29.12 

29.89 

29.75 

29.817 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

6 

18 

23 

20.71 

29.69 

29.64 

29.602 

W.b.N. 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

7 

20 

30 

24.62 

29.75 

29.75 

29.750 

W.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

8 

27 

32 

28.92 

29.81 

29.75 

29.785 

Bound  the  compass. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

9 

23 

28 

25.83 

29.68 

29.57 

29.612 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift. 

10 

26 

40 

31.62 

29.64 

29.50 

29.565 

North. 

Strong  breezes— P.M.  moderate. 

11 

38 

42 

39.77 

29.70 

29.47 

29.605 

N.N.W. 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

12 

39 

44 

42.00 

29.34 

29.32 

29.330 

Calm. 

Fine  clear  weather. 

13 

37 

46.5 

41.58 

29.15 

29.32 

29.388 

North  to  E.S.E. 

Light  airs  and  hazy. 

14 

38 

48 

40.33 

29.69 

29.53 

29.627 

West 

Light  winds  and  very  fine  weather. 

15 

32 

50 

40.92 

29.75 

29.69 

29.720 

North. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

16 

29 

36 

32.33 

30.02 

29.75 

29.887 

N.N.W. 

Ditto  and  hazy  weather. 

17 

26 

39 

33.42 

30.08 

30.04 

30.053 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  gales  and  heavy  drift. 

18 

21 

28 

26.25 

29.96 

29.87 

29.920 

N.N.W. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

19 

19 

24 

21.04 

29.77 

29.60 

29.698 

North. 

Ditto.                  ditto 

20 

23 

26 

24.08 

29.58 

29.53 

29.555 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  with  drift. 

21 

25 

37 

30.25 

29.80 

29.59 

29.721 

North. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

22 

34 

41 

36.58 

29.93 

29.83 

29.906 

East. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

23 

35 

41 

37.67 

29.93 

29.89 

29.908 

N.b.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

21 

39 

43 

40.92 

29.99 

29.91 

29.957 

N.b.W. 

Ditto.                  ditto 

25 

30 

38.5 

34.54 

29.82 

29.72 

29.755 

N.N.W. 

Strong  breezes  with  heavy  drift. 

26 

20 

29 

26.33 

29.72 

29.70 

29.708 

N.N.W. 

Ditto.                  ditto. 

27 

24 

32 

27.75 

29.73 

29.67 

29.700 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

28 

25 

32 

29.08 

29.97 

29.75 

29.872 

North  to  W.b.S. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

29 

27 

37 

29.07 

30.15 

30.02 

30.100 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine  clear  weather. 

-17 

50 

-  32.19 

30.15 

29.32 

29.769 

Remark.— The  mini 
from  the  ships,  was -5 
registered  on  board,  aris 
On  the  14th  and  15th  o 
above— 50O  for  seventee 

mum  temperatnre  for  February,  as  taken  at  a  distance 
5°,   tlie  dilference   between  this  and  the  temperature 
ng  from  the  warm  atmosphere  produced  by  the  fires, 
f  February,  a  thermometer  upon  the  ice  did  not  rise 
jx  successive  hours. 

151 


CHAPTER  VII. 


MORE  TEMPERATE  WEATHER — HOUSE  RE-BUILT — QUANTITY  OF  ICE  COL- 
LECTED ON  THE  HECLa's  LOWER  DECK — METEOROLOGICAL  PHENOMENAL- 
CONCLUSION     OF     THEATRICAL     ENTERTAINMENTS INCREASED    SICKNESS 

ON     BOARD     THE      GRIPER CLOTHES     FIRST    DRIED    IN    THE    OPEN    AIR 

REMARKABLE  HALOS  AND  PARHELIA — SNOW  BLINDNESS — CUTTING  THE 
ICE  ROUND  THE  SHIPS,  AND  OTHER  OCCURRENCES  TO  THE  CLOSE  OF 
MAY. 

JjEFORE  sun-rise,  on  the  morning  of  the  1st  of  March,  Lieutenant  Beechey  j^^rdi 
remarked  so  much  bright  red  light  near  the  south-eastern  horizon,  that  he  ^^^~^ 
constantly  thought  the  sun  was  rising,  nearly  half  an  hour  before  it  actually 
appeared  ;  there  was  a  column  of  light  above  the  sun,  similar  to  those  which 
we  had  before  seen.  The  day  being  clear  and  moderate,  a  party  of  men  was 
employed  in  digging  out  the  things  which  were  buried  in  the  ruins  ;  the 
clocks  were  removed  on  board  for  examination,  and  preparations  were  made 
to  rebuild  the  house  for  their  reception.  Some  of  our  gentlemen  who  walked 
to  the  south-west  during  the  day,  observed  the  snow,  in  certain  parts  which 
were  exposed  to  the  sun,  to  be  glazed,  so  as  to  be  very  slippery,  as  if 
a  partial  thaw  had  taken  place.  It  is,  perhaps,  requisite  to  have  expe- 
rienced the  anxiety  with  which  we  were  now  beginning  to  look  for  some 
favourable  change  in  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  to  conceive  the 
eagerness  with  which  this  information  was  received,  and  the  importance 
attached  to  it  in  our  minds,  as  the  first  faint  indication  of  the  dissolution  of 
the  winter's  snow.  In  the  evening  the  wind  freshened  from  the  southward, 
and  before  midnight  had  increased  to  a  strong  gale,  which  is  very  unusual 
from  that  quarter. 
The  thermometer  rose  very  gradually  with  the  wind  which  blew  strong  for  Thurs.  2. 


152  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  several  hours  during  the  night,  but  entirely  died  away  between  eight  and 
v^^^  nine  A.M.  on  the  2d.  At  nine  o'clock  a  parhelion  appeared  on  each  side  of 
the  sun,  at  the  angular  distance  of  21°  3  ',  that  on  the  eastern  side  being  bright 
and  prismatic,  the  other  indistinct  at  first,  but  becoming  as  clear  as  the  other 
as  the  sun  rose  higher.  They  were  not  seen  after  ten  o'clock  until  half  past 
one  P.M.,  when  they  re-appeared  for  a  short  time,  at  the  distance  of  22°. 
About  two  P.M.  a  very  thick  kind  of  haze,  or  fog,  came  on,  which  obscured 
objects  at  a  mile's  distance,  and  at  times  much  nearer.  By  us,  who  anxiously 
caught  at  any  thing  which  could  be  construed  into  a  favourable  indication, 
this  fog  was  hailed  with  pleasure,  as  a  symptom  of  returning  moisture  in 
the  atmosphere. 
Sat.  4.  On  the  4th  there  were  more  clouds  in  the  atmosphere,  and  they  were  harder 
and  better  defined  about  the  edges,  than  they  had  been  before  during  the 
winter:  a  thermometer  in  the  shade  seemed  now  also  to  be  more  affected  by  the 
general  influence  of  the  sun's  rays  upon  the  atmosphere,  rising  from  —  30°  to 

-  24°  at  noon.  At  half  past  eleven  A.M.  a  halo  appeared  round  the  sun,  at 
the  distance  of  22°.  17  from  it,  consisting  of  a  circle  nearly  complete,  and 
strongly  prismatic.  Three  parhelia,  or  mock  suns,  were  distinctly  seen  upon 
this  circle ;  the  first  being  directly  over  the  sun,  and  one  on  each  side  of  it, 
at  its  own  altitude.  The  prismatic  tints  were  much  more  brilliant  in  the 
parhelia  than  in  any  other  part  of  the  circle  ;  but  red,  yellow,  and  blue,  were 
the  only  colours  which  could  be  traced,  the  first  of  these  being  invariably 
next  the  sun  in  all  the  phenomena  of  this  kind  which  came  under  our  observa- 
tion. From  the  sun  itself  several  rays  of  white  light,  continuous  but  not  very 
brilliant,  extended  in  various  directions  beyond  the  halo,  and  these  rays  were 
more  bright  after  they  had  passed  through  the  circle,  than  they  were  in  the 
part  within  it:  this  phenomenon  continued  for  nearly  two  hours.  The 
Aurora  Borealis  was  seen  faintly  near  the  S.S.W.  horizon,  for  three  or  four 
hours  before  midnight. 

Sun,  5.  The  5th  of  March  was  the  most  mild  and  pleasant  day  we  had  experienced 
for  several  weeks,  a  light  breeze  springing  up  from  the  southward  and  east- 
ward, having  raised  the  thermometer  gradually  from  —  26°  at  four  A.M.,  to 

—  15°  at  noon  :  and,  after  divine  service  had  been  performed,  almost  all  the 

•  officers  and  men  in  both  ships  were  glad  to  take  advantage  of  it,  by  enjoying  I 
a  long  walk  upon  the  neighbouring  hills.  The  weather  had  been  hazy,  with'] 
light  snow  and  some  clouds  in  the  morning;  but  the  latter  gradually  dis- 
persed after  noon,  aflbrding  us  the  first  day  to  which  we  could  attach  the  ideaj 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  153 

of  spring.  As  soon  as  the  clouds  had  allowed  the  sun  to  come  out,  a  parhelion  1820. 
appeared  on  each  side  of  it  at  the  same  altitude  ;  that  to  tlie  westward,  which  \J:^ 
Avas  seen  on  a  thick  dark  cloud,  being  bright  and  prismatic  ;  the  other,  ap- 
pearing on  the  blue  sky,  being  scarcely  perceptible.  A  ray  of  bright  yellow 
light  extended  horizontally  about  3°  or  4°  on  each  side  of  the  parhelia,  and 
also  a  stripe  of  prismatic  colours  from  each  of  them  to  the  horizon.  Both  these 
were  probably  parts  of  the  circles  which  are  frequently  seen  to  accompany 
these  phenomena,  and  at  the  intersection  of  which  the  parhelia  usually 
appear. 

On  the  6th,  at  eight  A.M.,  the  thermometer  had  got  up  to  zero,  being  the  Mon.  6. 
first  time  we  had  registered  so  high  a  temperature  since  the  17th  of  the  pre- 
ceding December.  The  wind  veered  gradually  from  S.S.E.,  round  by  west,  to 
north,  and  at  night  was  remarkably  variable  and  squally,  frequently  changing, 
almost  instantly,  from  north  to  west,  and  vice  versa  ;  sometimes  being  so  light 
as  not  to  extinguish  a  naked  candle  at  the  gangway,  and  at  others  blowing  a 
strong  breeze.  Squalls  of  this  kind  we  had  not  observed  before,  nor  did  they 
occur  on  any  other  occasion  ;  we  could  not  perceive  any  alteration  in  the 
thermometer  while  they  lasted. 

We  continued  to  enjoy  the  same  temperate  and  enlivening  weather  on  Tues.  7. 
the  7th,  and  now  began  to  flatter  ourselves  in  earnest,  that  the  season  had 
taken  that  favourable  change  for  which  we  had  so  long  been  looking  Avith 
extreme  anxiety  and  impatience.  This  hope  was  much  strengthened  by  a 
circumstance  which  occurred  to  day,  and  Avhich,  trifling  as  it  would  have  ap- 
peared in  any  other  situation  than  ours,  was  to  us  a  matter  of  no  small  interest 
and  satisfaction.  This  was  no  other  than  the  thawing  of  a  small  quantity  of 
snoAV  in  a  favourable  situation  upon  the  black  paint  work  of  the  ship's  stern, 
which  exactly  faced  the  south,  being  the  first  time  that  such  an  event  had  oc- 
curred for  more  than  five  months.  The  thermometer  at  this  time  stood  at 
-f-  35°  in  the  sun,  but  no  appearance  of  thawing  took  place,  except  in  the 
situation  described,  and  even  there,  upon  the  yellow  paint  the  snoAV  re^ 
mained  as  hard  as  before.  We  could  perceive,  from  the  top  of  the  north' 
eastern  hill  of  the  harbour,  from  which  we  had  the  most  extensive  vicAv 
to  the  south  and  east,  that  a  line  of  hummocks  had  been  thrown  up  to 
a  considerable  height  upon  the  ice,  at  the  distance  of  six  or  seven  miles  from 
the  land,  and  in  a  direction  nearly  parallel  to  it.  It  Avas  here  probably  that 
the  junction  of  the  old  and  "  young"  floes  had  taken  place  in  the  autumn,  the 
space  betAveen  the  line  of  hummocks  and  the  land  being  occupied  by  the  ice 

5 


^4  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    which  this  winter  had  produced,  and  by  the  breaking  up  or  dissolution  of 

^.J^!^  which  we  could  alone  hope  to  proceed  on  our  voyage. 

Advantage  was  taken  of  the  present  mild  and  pleasant  weather,  to  rebuild  the 
house  on  shore,  which  was  completed  in  a  few  days,  when  the  clocks  were  re- 
placed in  it,  in  readiness  for  Captain  Sabine  to  begin  his  experiments  on  the 
pendulum,  whenever  the  season  would  permit.  The  observations  which  we  had 
been  enabled  to  make  during  the  winter  were  principally  confined  to  lunar  dis- 
tances, and  to  the  altitudes  of  stars  for  deducing  the  apparent  time.  It  was 
our  earnest  desire  to  have  obtained  a  series  of  observations  on  the  zenith 
distances  of  certain  stars,  in  order  to  determine  the  amount  of  atmospherical 
refraction  in  these  latitudes  during  the  winter  season.  The  only  instrument 
in  our  possession,  however,  which  was  adapted  to  this  purpose  was  the  re- 
peating circle,  of  which  we  were  unfortunately  precluded  the  use  by  a  number 
of  ^circumstances  not  previously  anticipated,  and  which  indeed  could  not 
easily  have  occurred  to  the  minds  of  those  accustomed  only  to  make  obser- 
vations in  more  temperate  climates.  A  particular  account  of  these  difficulties 
being  given  in  another  place  by  Captain  Sabine,  whose  unremitted  attention 
was  for  some  time  devoted  to  the  means  of  overcoming  them,  I  shall  only  here 
mention  genemlly,  that  the  principal  of  them  arose  from  the  unequal  con- 
traction of  the  brass  and  iron,  and  from  the  freezing  of  the  oil,  by  which  the 
instrument  was  so  set  fast  as  to  make  it  impossible  to  turn  it  in  azimuth  ;  also, 
from  the  extreme  contraction  of  the  spirits,  leaving  no  bubble  by  which  the 
level  could  be  read.  With  respect  to  the  experiments  on  the  pendulum,  it 
was  on  every  account  considered  advisable  to  wait  for  the  return  of  spring, 
rather  than  to  attempt  observations  requiring  such  minuteness,  and  so  uniform 
a  temperature,  at  a  time  when  the  very  touch  of  instruments  was  painful, 
and  when  no  observation  could  be  made  in  the  open  air,  without  carefully 
holding  the  breath. 

Wed.  8.  The  severe  weather  which,  until  the  last  two  or  three  days,  we  had  expe- 
rienced for  a  length  of  time,  had  been  the  means  of  keeping  in  a  solid  state 
all  the  vapour  which  had  accumulated  and  frozen  upon  the  ships'  sides  on  the 
lower  deck.  As  long  as  it  continued  in  this  state,  it  did  not  prove  a  source 
of  annoyance,  especially  as  it  had  no  communication  with  the  bed-places. 
On  the  contrary,  indeed,  I  had  imagined,  whether  justly  or  otherwise  I 
know  not,  that  a  lining  of  this  kind  rather  did  good  than  harm,  by  preventing 
the  escape  of  a  certain  portion  of  the  warmth  through  the  ships'  sides.  The 
late  mildness  of  the  weather,  however,  having  caused  a  thaw  to  take  place 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  155 

below,  it  now  became  necessary  immediately  to  scrape  off  the  coating  of  ice ; 
and  it  will,  perhaps,  be  scarcely  credited  that  we  this  day  removed  above  one 
hundred  buckets  full,  each  containing  from  five  to  six  gallons,  being  the 
accumulation  which  had  taken  place  in  an  interval  of  less  than  four  weeks. 
It  may  be  observed,  that  this  vapour  must  principally  have  been  produced 
from  the  men's  breath,  and  from  the  steam  of  their  victuals  during  meals,  that 
from  the  coppers  being  effectually  carried  on  deck  by  the  screen  which  I  have 
before  mentioned. 

James  Richardson,  a  seaman  of  the  Hecla,  one  of  the  inen  who  had 
been  attacked  by  lumbago  a  short  time  before,  now  evinced  some  symptoms 
of  scurvy,  and  was,  therefore,  immediately  put  on  the  anti-scorbutic  diet. 
About  this  time,  also,  John  Ludlow,  boatswain's-mate  of  the  Griper,  and 
William  Wright,  seaman  of  the  Hecla,  were  attacked  in  a  similar  manner ;  and 
these  two  cases  subsequently  proved  the  worst  of  this  nature  on  board  the  ships. 
Immediately  on  the  appearance  of  any  complaint  among  the  men,  and  especially 
when  the  symptoms  were  in  the  slightest  degree  scorbutic,  the  patients  were 
removed  to  the  sick-bay,  where  the  bed-places  were  larger land  more  conve- 
nient, and  where  a  separate  stove  was  fixed  when  necessary,  so  as  to  make  it 
a  warm  and  comfortable  place,  apart  from  the  rest  of  the  ships'  company. 

From  ten  till  eleven  A.M.  this  day,  a  halo  and  three  parhelia  were  seen 
about  the  sun,  in  every  respect  similar  to  those  described  on  the  4th.  About 
one  P.M.,  there  being  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  northward,  with  some  snow- 
drift, the  parhelia  re-appeared,  being  mucii;  more  bright  and  prismatic  than 
in  the  forenoon,  and  accompanied  by  the  usual  halo,  which  was  nearly  com- 
plete, and  whose  radius  measured  22|°.  The  parhelia  a,  a,  in  the  annexed 
figure,  on  each  side  of  the  sun,  were  at  times  so  bright  as  to  be  painful  to 
the  eye  in  looking  steadfastly  at  them.  When  they  were  brightest,  the  light 
was  nearly  white,  and  this  generally  occurred  when  the  wind  was  most  mo- 
derate, and  when  there  was  consequently  less  snow-drift.  When,  on  the 
other  hand,  the  wind  and  drift  increased,  they  became  of  a  deeper  tint,  but  the 
red  and  a  pale  yellow  were  the  only  distinguishable  colours,  the  former  being 
as  usual,  next  the  sun.  These  parhelia  were  much  better  resemblances  of  the 
sun  than  any  we  had  seen  before,  being  smaller,  more  compact  and  circular, 
and  better  defined  about  their  edges,  than  usual,  approaching,  in  every  respect, 
nearer  to  that  appearance  of  the  sun's  disk,  which  has  obtained  for  them  the 
name  of  mock-suns.  The  parhelion  b,  over  the  sun  was  never  very  bright,  and 
the  circle  of  the  halo  was  but  faintly  tinged  with  the  prismatic  colours.     Part 


156 


1820. 
March. 


VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


of  a  horizontal  circle  of  pale  white  light  passed  through  the  sun's  disk,  and 
across  the  two  lower  parhelia,  being  much  more  bright  without  than  within 
them.  By  looking  at  the  sun  through  a  coloured  glass,  a  column  of  light  was 
seen  under  it,  as  often  observed  before.  The  brightness  of  the  whole  phe- 
nomenon varied  every  instant,  on  account  of  the  snoAV-drift. 


When  this  phenomenon  had  continued  about  an  hour  and  a  half,  we  per- 
ceived a  segment  of  another  circle  above  the  first,  and  inverted  with  regard  to 
it,  as  at  c,  its  centre  being  somewhere  near  the  zenith.  The  distance  from  the 
sun  to  c  was  about  54°,  as  nearly  as  the  indistinctness  of  the  latter  would 
allow  of  its  being  measured.  The  whole  disappeared  in  two  hours  and  a  half 
from  its  commencement,  during  which  time,  the  thermometer  was  from  — 16° 
to  — 20°,  and  the  weather  fine  and  clear  over  head.  From  nine  P.M.,  till 
midnight,  the  Aurora  Borealis  appeared  faintly  in  the  horizon  to  the  south, 
occasionally  streaming  towards  the  zenith  in  coruscations  of  pale  white  light. 
Thurs.9 .  On  the  9th,  it  blew  a  hard  gale  from  the  northward  and  westward,  raising 
a  snow-drift  which  made  the  day  almost  as  inclement  as  in  the  midst  of  winter. 
The  wind  very  suddenly  ceased  in  the  evening,  and  while  the  atmosphere 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  157 

near  the  ships  was  so  serene  and  undisturbed  that  the  smoke  rose  quite  per-     1820. 

.  .  March 

pendicularly,  we  saw  the  snow-drift  on  the  hills  at  one  or  two  miles'  distance  -^^r*-- 
whirled  up  into  the  air,  in  columns  several  hundred  feet  high,  and  carried 
along  by  the  wind,  sometimes  to  the  north,  and  at  others  in  the  opposite  di- 
rection. The  snow,  thus  raised,  at  times  resembled  water-spouts,  but  more 
frequently  appeared  like  smoke  issuing  from  the  tops  of  the  hills,  and,  as 
such,  was  at  first  represented  to  me. 

On  the  12th,  Lieutenant  Liddon  reported  another  of  his  seamen  to  be  Sun.  12. 
affected  with  scurvy,  making  two  in  each  ship  labouring,  more  or  less,  under 
this  disease ;  Mr.  Scallon  also  complained  again  a  little,  of  feeling,  according 
to  his  own  account,  "  as  if  tired  with  walking  ;"  by  attention,  however,  to  the 
warmth  and  dryness  of  his  clothing,  he  gradually  recovered  his  former 
strength  as  the  season  advanced. 

It  blew  a  strong  breeze  from  the  N.b.W.,  with  a  heavy  snow-drift,  on  theTues.  14. 
12th,  which  continued,  with  little  intermission,  till  near  noon  on  the  14th ;  af- 
fording us  a  convincing  proof  that  the  hopes  with  which  we  had  flattered  our- 
selves of  the  speedy  return  of  spring  were  not  yet  to  be  accomplished.  During 
this  time  the  thermometer  had  once  more  fallen  as  low  as  —  28°,  a  change 
which,  after  the  late  mild  weather,  we  felt  much  in  the  same  manner  as  we 
should  have  done  any  of  those  alterations  which  occur  in  a  more  temperate 
climate,  at  a  higher  part  of  the  scale.  I  have  before  had  occasion  to  observe 
that  this  remark  is  equally  applicable  to  all  the  changes  we  experienced  in  the 
course  of  the  winter,  either  from  cold  to  warm,  or  the  contrary. 

At  one  P.M.,  on  the  14th,  the  weather  being  nearly  calm,  and  the  ther- 
mometer at  +  33°  in  the  sun,  there  was  a  second  partial  melting  of  the  snow 
upon  the  ships'  stern.  Immediately  on  the  springing  up  of  a  light  breeze, 
however,  the  thermometer  in  the  sun  fell  to  +  11°,  and  at  half-past  two  was 
at  +  6°,  the  temperature  of  the  air  in  the  shade  remaining  steadily  from  —  16° 
to  —  17°.  At  five  P.M.,  a  parhelion  was  observed  on  each  side  of  the  sun, 
at  its  own  altitude,  and  distant  from  it  22°  10',  Avith  a  part  of  the  usual 
horizontal  circle,  extending  2°  or  3°  from  the  outer  edge  of  each  parhelion. 

On  the  16th,  there  being  little  wind,  the  weather  was  again  pleasant  and  Thur.  IG. 
comfortable,  though  the  thermometer  remained  very  low.  While  it  continued 
nearly  calm,  we  observed  the  following  differences  in  the  temperature  of  the 
air  in  the  shade  and  in  the  sun  ;  the  latter,  were  however,  noted  by  a  ther- 
mometer placed  under  the  ship's  stern,  which  situation  was  a  warm  one,  for 
the  reasons  before  assigned. 


15S  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


A.M.    9     . 

.      SHADE 

-  24°     . 

SUN  +  24° 

»           10     , 

-23°     . 

.     .      +27° 

11     . 

-  22°     . 

.     .      +  281' 

Noon    . 

.^ 

-  21°      . 

.     .      +29° 

P.M.     3    . 

-  13°      . 

.     .      +  19°. 

^*?This  evening,  the  officers  performed  the  farces  of  the  Citizen  and  the 
Mayor  of  Garratt,  being  the  last  of  our  theatrical  amusements  for  this  winter, 
the  season  having  now  arrived  when  there  would  no  longer  be  a  want  of  oc- 
cupation for  the  men,  and  when  it  became  necessary  also  to  remove  a  part  of 
the  roofing  to  admit  light  to  the  officers'  cabins.  Our  poets  were  again  set  to 
work  on  this  occasion,  and  an  appropriate  address  was  this  evening  spoken 
on  the  closing  of  the  North  Georgia  Theatre,  than  which  we  may,  without 
vanity,  be  permitted  to  say,  none  had  ever  done  more  real  service  to  the  com- 
munity for  whose  benefit  it  was  intended. 
Moil.  20.  Two  of  the  Hecla's  seamen,  who  were  employed  on  shore  in  digging 
stones  for  ballast,  reported  on  the  23th,  that  they  had  seen  a  glaucous  gull, 
or  one  of  that  species  known  to  sailors  by  the  name  of  *'  burgomaster."  On 
being  questioned  respecting  this  bird,  they  strongly  insisted  on  the  impos- 
sibility of  their  having  mistaken  its  kind,  having  been  vnthin  twenty  yards 
of  it.  As,  however,  these  gulls  cannot  well  subsist  without  open  water,  of 
which  there  was  certainly  none  in  the  neighbourhood  at  that  period,  we  con- 
jectured that  it  might  have  been  an  owl ;  a  bird  that  may,  perhaps,  remain  on  the 
island,  even  during  the  whole  winter,  as  the  abundance  of  mice  fMws  Hudsonius,) 
of  which  we  constantly  saw  the  tracks  upon  the  snow,  would  furnish  them  with 
an  ample  supply  of  food.  It  was  a  novelty  to  us,  however,  to  see  any  living  animal 
in  this  desolate  spot ;  for  even  the  wolves  and  foxes,  our  occasional  visitors 
during  the  winter,  had  almost  entirely  deserted  us  for  several  weeks  past. 

The  sick  report  of  the  Griper  this  day  contained  no  less  than  ten  cases,  of 
which  four  were  scorbutic,  while  the  number  of  sick,  or  rather  of  conva- 
lescent, on  board  the  Hecla,  did  not  amount  to  half  that  number.  On  in- 
quiring into  the  probable  cause  of  this  extraordinary  proportion  of  sick  on 
board  the  Griper,  which,  just  at  this  period,  when  their  services  began  to  be 
necessary  to  our  re-equipment,  was  likely  to  prove  of  serious  importance,  I 
found,  from  Lieutenant  Liddon,  that  the  beams  and  bed-places  on  the  Griper's 
lower-deck  had  lately  been  in  so  damp  a  state,  in  consequence  of  the  con- 
densation of  the  vapour  upon  them,  and  in  spite  of  every  endeavour  to  pre- 
vent it,  that  there  could  be  little  doubt  of  the  cause  to  which  the  present 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  159 

unhealthiness  of  the  crew  was  to  be  chiefly  attributed.  I,  therefore,  directed  a  '^"-'^; 
survey  to  be  held  by  the  three  medical  officers,  and  a  report  to  be  made  of  ^^-^^^^ 
their  opinions,  as  to  the  expediency  of  altogether  removing  the  bed-places,  or 
of  adopting  any  other  means  of  obviating  the  evil  in  question.  These  gen- 
tlemen were  of  opinion  that  the  extreme  dampness  was  "  occasioned  by 
the  necessary  proximity  of  the  bed-places  to  the  vessels'  sides,  and  the 
smailness  of  the  lower-deck,  in  consequence  of  which  the  vapours  formed 
were  deposited  in  so  great  abundance,  particularly  during  meal-times,  that 
the  heat  of  the  fires  was  inadequate  to  remove  the  evil,  before  the  cause  was 
again  renewed."  They  therefore  recommended  taking  down  the  bed-places, 
in  order  to  admit  a  more  free  ventilation,  as  well  as  a  more  equal  distribution 
of  the  warmth,  and  that  hammocks  should  be  substituted  in  their  place  ;  an 
alteration  which  was  immediately  adopted.  While  on  this  subject,  which 
is  so  intimately  connected  with  the  health  of  seamen  in  the  Arctic  Regions 
it  may  be  proper  for  me  to  remark  that,  although  the  bed-places,  which  were 
fitted  on  board  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  give  a  neat  and  comfortable  appearance 
to  the  lower-deck,  and  are  in  reality  a  great  convenience  to  the  men  in  many 
respects,  yet  that  our  winter's  experience  plainly  shews  them  to  be  so 
favourable  to  the  accumulation  of  dampness  or  ice  within  them,  that  there 
can  remain  little  doubt  of  their  unfitness  for  this  service  ;  and,  I  believe, 
that  hammocks  will  be  found  warmer,  and  in  every  respect  more  comfortable 
to  the  men,  than  any  other  kind  of  sleeping-place  that  could  be  adopted.  To 
the  officers*  cabins,  which  are  necessarily  closer  to  the  ship's  side,  the  same 
remark  applies  still  more  strongly  ;  and  with  this  difference  only,  that,  on 
account  of  the  want  of  length,  cots  must  be  used  instead  of  hammocks.  The 
advantage  of  thus  removing  from  the  ship's  side  was  remarkably  proved  in  the 
case  of  Lieutenant  Liddon,  whose  state  of  health  was  so  bad  during  the 
winter,  that  we  at  one  time  entertained  very  serious  apprehensions  respecting 
him.  It  was  proposed,  therefore,  about  the  end  of  February,  that  he  should  sleep 
in  a  cot,  at  some  distance  from  the  side  ;  and,  from  that  period,  his  recovery 
was  so  rapid  and  so  decided,  that  in  a  few  weeks  he  was  enabled  to  walk  out 
every  fine  day  in  the  open  air  for  exercise,  with  the  thermometer  at  twenty 
degrees  below  zero,  and  without  the  slightest  degree  of  inconvenience. 

On  the  23d,  we  found,  by  digging  a  hole  in  the  ice,  in  the  middle  of  the  har-  Tluu.23. 
hour,  where  the  depth  of  water  was  four  fathoms  and  a  quarter,  that  its  thickness 
was  six  feet  and  a  half,  and  the  snow  on  the  surface  of  it  eight  inches  deep. 
This  may  be  considered  a  fair  specimen  of  the  average  formation  of  ice  in  this 


160  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

neighbourhood  since  the  middle  of  the  preceding  September ;  and  as  the 
freezing  process  did  not  stop  for  more  than  six  weeks  after  this,  the  produce 
of  the  whole  winter  may,  perhaps,  be  reasonably  taken  at  seven,  or  seven 
and  a  half  feet.  In  chopping  this  ice  with  an  axe,  the  men  found  it  very 
hard  and  brittle  till  they  arrived  within  a  foot  of  the  lower  surface,  where  it 
became  soft  and  spongy. 
Sat.  25,       j\t  noon,  on  the  25th,  two  thermometers  stood 

in  the  shade  at  —25°,  and  in  the  sun  at  +30° 
at  1  P.M.     -     -22°, +17° 

2  -     -     -     -22°, +25° 

3  -     -     -     -22°, +21° 

the  thermometer  in  the  sun  being  placed  at  a  distance  from  the  ship,  and  the 
weather  very  calm  and  fine.   The  length  of  the  day  had  now  so  much  increased. 

Sun.  26.  that  at  midnight  on  the  26th,  there  was  a  very  sensible  twilight  in  the  northern 
quarter  of  the  heavens ;  and  such  was  the  rapidity  with  which  this  part  of  the 
season  appeared  to  us  to  have  come  round,  that  we  could,  with  difficulty, 
picture  to  ourselves  the  total  darkness  from  which  we  had  so  lately  emerged. 

Tues.  28.  On  the  28th,  Lieutenant  Beechey  reported,  on  his  return  from  a  walk  over 
the  hills  to  the  westward,  that  he  had  seen,  even  more  plainly  than  before, 
that  refracted  appearance  in  the  southern  horizon,  which  bore  a  strong 
resemblance  to  distant  land  in  that  direction ;  and,  what  is  most  worthy  of 
notice,  still  seeming  to  terminate  abruptly  about  a  S.b.E.  bearing  from  Winter 
Harbour.  The  thermometer  was  at  this  time  at  -  20°,  and  the  mercury  in  the 
barometer  standing  at  30.22  inches. 
April.  On  one  of  the  fine  days  in  the  early  part  of  March,  in  taking  a  longer  walk 
than  usual  on  the  north  side  of  the  harbour,  we  accidentally  met  with  a  small 
flat  stone,  on  which  the  letter  P  was  plainly  engraved.  As  there  seemed 
little  doubt  that  this  had  been  artificially  done,  and  as,  since  our  arrival  in 
Winter  Harbour,  the  weather  had  been  too  cold  to  induce  any  of  our  people 
to  sit  down  on  the  ground  for  the  purpose  of  exercising  their  talent  in  this 
way,  we  were  entirely  at  a  loss  to  conjecture  how  it  came  there,  and  various 
amusing  speculations  were  I'esorted  to,  in  order  to  account  for  it.  Since 
that  time,  the  weather  had  not  permitted  our  sending  for  it  till  this  day, 
when  it  was  brought  on  board  ;  and  on  inquiry  among  the  men,  we  found 
that  Peter  Fisher,  a  seaman  belonging  to  the  Griper,  who  was  one  of  the 
party  under  Mr.  Fife,  respecting  whom  we  had  felt  so  much  anxiety  in  the 
preceding   September,    had,  on  that  occasion,  amused   himself  by   begia- 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship   Hecla, 
during  the  Month  o{  March,    1820. 


Day 


Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 


Prevailing  Winds. 


Prevailinsr  Weather. 


-17 
-26 
-24 

-  9 
+  2.5 
+  2 
-16 

-  3 
+  1 
+  6 
-19 
-10 
-12 
-10 

13 


-12 

-  8 
-17 
-18 

22 

21 

19 

-16 

-17 

-12 

-  3 


-40 
-33 
-37 
-33 
-26 


-14 
-14 
-11 

-29 
-27 
-24 
-23 
-26 
-24 
-16 
-18 
-18 
-24 
-22 
-26 
-27 
-30 
-29 
-33 
-29 
-28 


-  31.33 
-25.00 
-31.33 
-27.92 

-  16.50 

-  2.50 

-  6.17 

-  18.35 

-  8.58 

-  4.96 

-  2.25 

-  24.00 

-  22.71 

-  17.83 

-  16.25 
-21.79 
- 17.58 

-  8.88 
-13.75 
-11.88 
-15.63 
-13.75 

22.42 
-21.50 
-26.71 
-25.50 
-26.17 
-24.17 
-23.88 
-20.29 

-  U.50 


+   0      -40      -  18.10    '  30.26    29.00    29.803 


inches. 
30.16 

inches. 
29.S0 

29.63 

29.52 

29.68 

29.55 

29.62 

29.50 

29.41 

29.30 

29.12 

29.00 

29.27 

29.03 

30.15 

29.32 

30.13 

29.88 

29.78 

29.62 

29.03 

29.30 

29.96 

29.62 

29.97 
29.83 
29.76 
29.88 
29.87 
29.99 
30.00 
29.89 
29.78 
29.88 
30.05 
30.06 
29.94 
30.14 
30.19 
30.26 
30.19 
30.25 
30.18 


29.82 
29.62 
29.50 
29.76 
29.83 
29.78 
29.91 
29.75 
29.63 
29.72 
29.91 
29.95 
29.92 
29.93 
30.03 
30.19 
30.14 
30.14 
29.89 


29.570 

29.625 

29.575 

29.378 

29.050 

29.172 

29.762 

29.980 

29.695 

29.478 

29.822 

29.905 

29.757 

29.600 

29.828 

29.857 

29.882 

29.965 

29.805 

29.697 

29.780 

29.997 

29.995 

29.927 

30.005 

30.132 

30.227 

30.165 

30.212 

30.003 


South. 

South,  round   by 
West,  to  North 

North 

N.N.W. 


f       s.s.E.       ; 

I        variable.        ) 
N.W. 

North 

West. 
Round  the  compass 

West. 

N.b.W. 

N.b.W. 

North 

North 

N.N.W. 

N.b.W. 

North 

North 

North. 
5         N.b.E.  1 

(,         North.  J 

North. 
North 

North 
(  N.W.  J 

t  North  5 

North 

North 

N.N.W. 
N.N.W. 
North 
N.W. 


Light  airs  and  fine  dear  weather. 
Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift. 
Strong  breezes  :  much  drift. 
Fresh  gales  to  light  airs. 
Light  airs  and  cloudy — small  snow. 
Moderate  with  small  snow. 

Ditto  ditto. 

Fresh  breezes  with  drift. 
Strong  breezes  and  hazy — P.M.  moderate. 
Variable,  from  calm  to  strong  breezes. 
Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift. 
Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  ditto. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 
Strong  breezes  with  much  drift. 
Fresh  gales  vrith  heavy  drift. 
Moderate  and  clear. 
Light  airs  with  small  snow 
Light  airs  and  hazy. 
Fresh  breezes  and  hazy  with  drift. 
Light  airs  and  fine. 
Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  ditto 

Light  to  strong  breezes. 
Light  airs  to  snow. 
Light  breezes  and  fine. 
Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  ditto. 

Ditto  and  hazy 


162  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  ning  to  scratch  upon  the  stone  in  question,  the  initials  of  his  name*.  This 
^^t^^  circumstance  is  only  worthy  of  notice,  from  its  proving  to  how  considerable 
a  distance  this  party  had  rambled,  and  how  completely  they  were  in  error  as 
to  the  direction  in  which  they  had  been  travelling  ;  the  distance  between  the 
two  places  being  twenty-five  miles.  I  was  in  hopes,  also,  of  finding  out  by 
this  means,  the  situation  of  a  large  lake  which  Mr.  Fife  reported  having  seen, 
and  from  which  he  brought  a  small  fish,  of  the  trout  kind  ;  but  the  more  I 
questioned  him  and  his  party,  the  more  I  was  convinced  of  the  little  depend- 
ance  to  be  placed  on  the  account  of  persons  circumstanced  as  they  were, 
and  of  their  utter  ignorance  as  to  the  part  of  the  island  in  which  the  lake  was 
to  be  found. 

In  the  evening,  a  parhelion  was  seen  on  each  side  of  the  sun,  and  a 
third  above  it,  as  usual,  at  the  angular  distance  of  22°  20',  the  two  first  being 
strongly  marked  by  the  prismatic  colours,  and  the  other  very  indistinctly. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  3d,  we  observed  an  effect  of  refraction  very 
common  in  seas  having  much  ice.  It  consists  in  the  images  of  hummocks  of 
ice,  reflected  and  inverted  somewhat  in  this  manner,  t*  i 


7 


in  which  case,  from  the  apparent  shape  of  these  images,  the  ice  is  technically 
said  to  "  tree."  This  appearance  is  considered  by  the  Greenland  sailors,  as 
an  indication  of  clear  water  in  the  direction  in  which  it  is  seen,  which  was 
certainly  not  the  case  this  morning. 
Wed.  5.  At  nine  A.M.,  on  the  5th,  the  weather  being  very  fine,  and  the  thermometer 
at  —18°,  we  observed  a  halo  round  the  sun,  which  was  at  times  nearly 
complete.  There  was,  as  usual,  a  parhelion  on  each  side  of  the  sun,  at  the 
same  altitude,   and  distinctly  prismatic.     There  was  also  a  third  parhelion 

*  When  Mr.  Fife  and  his  party  returned  from  that  excursion,  it  was  a  matter  of  surprise 
to  us,  to  see  how  fresh  Fisher  was,  and  how  little  he  seemed  to  regard  what  had  happened, 
as  any  thing  out  of  the  common  way,  of  which,  indeed,  the  circumstance  just  related,  is 
also  a  proof.  When  asked,  on  his  first  arrival  on  board  on  that  occasion,  what  they  had 
lived  upon,  "  Lived  upon,"  said  Fisher,  dryly,  "  the  Duke  of  WeUington  never  hved  so 
well.  We  had  grouse  for  breakfast,  grouse  for  dinner,  and  grouse  for  supper,  to  be 
sure !" 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  163 

in  that  part  of  the  circle  immediately  above  the  sun,  and  this  had  a  peculiarity  1820. 
attending  it  which  we  had  never  before  observed.  Although  the  weather  .^^^^^ 
was  remarkably  fine  and  clear,  the  atmosphere  was  full  of  innumerable 
minute  spiculce  of  snow  glittering  in  the  sun,  which  we  had  never  before  seen 
on  a  bright  sun-shiny  day,  though  we  had  constant  occasion  to  remark  such 
a  deposit,  at  times  when  the  weather  could  by  no  means  be  called  hazy, 
and  when  the  heavenly  bodies  were  distinctly  visible.  The  parhelion  above 
the  sun  appeared  to  be  evidently  formed  by  the  reflection  of  the  sun's  rays 
to  the  eye,  by  an  infinite  number  of  these  spiculae,  commencing  close  to 
the  observer,  and  continuing  so  as  to  be  easily  distinguishable  for  at  least 
one  or  two  hundred  yards  from  the  eye.  This  parhelion  might  at  times  be 
easily  seen  to  consist  of  the  intersection,  or  rather  the  touching,  of  two 
circles  turning  opposite  ways,  of  which  the  plainest  was  generally  the  upper 
one,  or  that  which  had  its  convex  side  downwards.  At  about  22°  above 
the  parhelion,  being  nearly  the  same  distance  that  the  latter  was  above  the 
sun,  a  streak  of  glittering  spicule  was  permanently  seen  in  a  horizontal 
direction  ;  but  there  Avas  so  little  of  it,  that  it  was  difficult  to  say  of 
what  regular  figure  it  formed  a  part.  This  phenomenon  continued  above 
an  hour. 

Being  extremely  anxious  to  get  rid,  as  early  as  possible,  of  the  drying  of 
our  washed  clothes  upon  the  lower  deck,  I  had  to-day  a  silk  handkerchief 
washed,  and  hung  up  under  the  stern,  in  order  to  try  the  effect  of  the 
sun's  rays  upon  it.  In  four  hours  it  became  thoroughly  dry,  the  thermo- 
meter in  the  shade,  being  from  —  18°  to  —  G°,  at  the  time.  This  was  the 
first  article  that  had  been  dried  without  artificial  heat  for  six  months,  and 
it  was  yet  another  month  before  flannel  could  be  dried  in  the  open  air.  When 
this  is  considered,  as  well  as  that  during  the  same  period,  the  airing  of  the 
bedding,  the  drying  of  the  bed-places,  and  the  ventilation  of  the  inhabited 
parts  of  the  ship,  were  wholly  dependent  on  the  same  means,  and  this  with  a 
very  limited  supply  of  fuel,  it  may,  perhaps,  be  conceived  in  some  degree, 
what  unremitting  attention  was  necessary  to  the  preservation  of  health,  under 
circumstances  so  unfavourable  and  even  prejudicial. 

At  midnight,  on  the  7th,  there  was  light  enough  to  read  the  thermometer 
with  great  ease.     On  the  8th,  the  weather  was  serene  and  clear ;  the  southern    Sat.  8. 
horizon  being  much  raised  by   refraction,  and  presenting  very  strongly   the 
same  appearance  of  land  which  had  so  often   before  been  observed  in  that 
quarter.      A  few  thin  white  clouds  which  were  floating  in  the  atmosphere 


164 


VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


to-day,  had  much  of  that  tendency  to  arch,  which  has  before  been  described 
on  one  or  two  occasions.  Two  distinct  arches  were  thus  formed  this  mornino- 
one  in  the  northern,  the  other  in  the  southern  hemisphere  of  the  heavens, 
their  altitude  in  the  centre  being  from  20°  to  45°,  and  joining  at  each  end  in 
the  E.N.E.  and  W.S.W,  points  of  the  horizon. 
Sun.  9.  Prom  half-past  six  till  eight  A.M.,  on  the  9th,  a  halq,  with  parhelia,  was 
observed  about  the  sun,  similar  in  every  respect  to  those  described  on  the 
5th,  Atone  P.M.  these  phenomena  re-appeared,  together  with  several  others 
of  the  same  nature,  which,  with  Captain  Sabine's  assistance,  I  have  endea- 
voured to  delineate  in  the  annexed  figure. 


..^t 


s,  the  sun,  its  altitude  being  about  23°.     h,h,  the  horizon. 

t,  II,  a  complete  horizontal  circle  of  white  light  passing  through  the  sun. 

a,  a  very  bright  and  dazzling  parhelion,  not  prismatic. 

b,  c,  prismatic  parhelia  at  the  intersection  of  a  circle  a,  b,  d,  c,  whose  radius 
was  22|°  with  the  horizontal  circle  t,  u. 

X,  d,  V,  an  arch  of  an  inverted  circle,  having  its  centre  apparently  about 
the  zenith.     This  arch  was  very  strongly  tinted  with  the  prismatic  colours. 

k,  e,  I.  an  arch  apparently  elliptical  rather  than  circular,  e  being  distant 
from  .the  sun  26° ;  the  part  included  between  x  and  v  was  prismatic,  the  rest 
white.     The  space  included  between  the  two  prismatic  arches,  x  e  v  d  was 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  1G5 

made  extremely  brilliant  by  the  reflection  of  the  sun's  rays,  from  innume- 
rable minute  spiculae  of  snow  floating  in  the  atmosphere. 

qfr,  a  circle  having  a  radius  from  the  sun,  of  45°,  strongly  prismatic  about 
the  points/  q  r,  and  faintly  so  all  round. 

m  n,  a  small  arch  of  an  inverted  circle,  strongly  prismatic,  and  having  its 
centre  apparently  in  the  zenith. 

r  p,  q  0,  arches  of  large  circles,  very  strongly  prismatic,  which  could  only 
be  traced  to  p  and  o  ;  but  on  that  part  of  the  horizontal  circle  t  u,  which  M'as 
directly  opposite  to  the  sun,  there  appeared  a  confused  white  light,  which  had 
occasionally  the  appearance  of  being  caused  by  the  intersection  of  large  arches 
coinciding  with  a  prolongation  of  r  p,  and  q  o. 

The  above  phenomenon  continued  during  the  greater  part  of  the  afternoon ; 
but  at  six  P.M.,  the  distance  between  i  and  e  increased  considerably,  and 
what  before  appeared  an  arch,  x,  d,  v,  now  assumed  the  appearance  given  in 
fig.  12,  plate  287,  of  Brewster's  Encyclopedia,  resembling  horns,  and  so 
described  in  the  article  "  Halo"  of  that  work.  At  90°  from  the  sun,  on 
each  side  of  it,  and  at  an  altitude  of  30°  to  50°,  there  now  appeared  also  a 
very  faint  arch  of  white  light,  which  sometimes  seemed  to  form  a  part  of 
the  circles  q  o,  r  p;  and  sometimes  we  thought  they  turned  the  opposite 
way.  In  the  outer  large  circle,  we  now  observed  two  opposite  and  corre- 
sponding spots  y,  y,  more  strongly  prismatic  than  the  rest,  and  the  inverted 
arch  m,f,  n,  was  now  much  longer  than  before,  and  resembled  a  beautiful 
rainbow. 

The  protracted  length  of  the  winter  began  now  to  make  us  more  than  usually  Thuil.' 
impatient,  and  to  create  in  us  reasonable  apprehensions  lest  our  escape  from 
Winter  Harbour  should  unavoidably  be  postponed  to  a  period  too  late  for  the 
accomplishment  of  those  sanguine  hopes,  with  which  the  last  year's  success 
had  induced  us  to  flatter  ourselves.  The  extraordinary  degree  of  cold  which 
continued  day  after  day  was  such  as  we  had  certainly  not  anticipated ;  and 
when,  at  this  period,  with  the  sun  above  the  horizon  for  seventeen  hours 
out  of  the  four  and  twenty,  the  thermometer  was  still  occasionally  falling  as 
low  as  — 31°,  which  it  did  at  four  this  morning,  it  must  be  confessed  that 
our  fiiture  prospects  of  advancement  began  to  wear  a  very  unpromising 
aspect.  It  may  be  imagined,  also,  with  what  anxiety  we  watched  for  the 
first  appearance  of  a  thaw,  both  on  shore  and  upon  the  ice  round  the  ships, 
in  neither  of  which  had  any  such  appearances  yet  become  perceptible,  except 
that  here  and  there,  where  the  snow  happened  to  lie  very  thin  upon  the 


166  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  ground,  allowing  the  sun's  rays  to  penetrate  to  the  earth,  a  sufficient  degree 
v^^^  of  heat  had  been  radiated  partially  to  thaw  the  snow,  forming  it  into  a  thin 
transparent  cake,  like  a  plate  of  glass.  Indeed,  the  cloudless  sky,  and  the 
uniformly  Avhite  surface  of  sea  and  land  which  characterize  the  climate  of 
Melville  Island  at  this  period,  are  ill  calculated  to  impart  warmth  to  the 
atmosphere ;  and  it  Avas  not  till  the  clouds  became  gradually  more  dense 
and  frequent,  and  the  earth,  had,  by  slow  degrees,  become  uncovered  in  parts, 
so  as  to  admit  the  absorption  and  radiation  of  heat,  that  the  dissolution  of  the 
snow  could  go  on  to  any  considerable  extent. 

Sun.  16.  In  the  afternoon  of  the  16th,  the  weather  being  clear  and  nearly  calm, 
Mr.  Hooper  and  myself  observed  a  colouring  in  some  light  fleecy  clouds,  which 
formed  one  of  the  most  beautiful  phenomena  that  I  had  ever  seen.  These  clouds, 
which  were  small  and  white,  and  almost  the  only  ones  in  the  heavens,  assumed, 
as  they  approached  and  passed  under  the  sun,  the  most  soft  and  exquisite 
tints  of  light  lake,  bluish  green,  and  yellow  about  their  edges,  that  can  pos- 
sibly be  imagined.  These  tints  appeared  only  when  the  clouds  were  within 
15°  or  20°  of  the  sun,  were  brightest  as  they  passed  under  it,  which  they  did 
as  close  as  2°,  and  began  to  be  again  indistinct  at  10°  from  it.  Some  of  the 
clouds  remained  coloured  in  this  way  for  upwards  of  a  quarter  of  an  hour; 
there  did  not  seem  to  be  any  regular  arrangement  of  tints,  as  in  the  prismatic 
spectrum,  but  the  lake  was  always  next  the  sun. 

It  was  a  source  of  extreme  satisfaction  to  me  to  find  that  the  health  of  both 
ships'  companies  were  daily  improving  as  the  season  advanced ;  so  that  by 
the  middle  of  April  the  Griper's  sick  list  was  reduced  to  four,  all  of  whom 
were  convalescent ;  and  on  board  the  Hecla,  Mr.  Edwards  had  but  a  single 
patient,  William  Scott,  boatswain's-mate,  who  first  complained  of  pneumonia 
about  this  time,  and  whose  case  subsequently  assumed  a  more  dangerous 
character. 

On  the  19th  and  20th,  the  thermometer  kept  up  nearly  to  zero,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  wind  blowing  from  the  E.S.E.,  and  continual  snow,  of  which 

Fiid.  21.  we  remarked,  when  walking  on  shore  on  the  21st,  that  as  much  had  fallen  in 
the  last  two  days  as  during  the  whole  of  the  winter.  The  spiculae  were  also 
much  less  minute  than  before,  though  the  snow  could  not  as  yet  be  said  to  fall 
in  flakes. 

Tues.25.  The  wind,  which  had  blown  fresh  from  the  eastward  for  several  hours, 
moderated  at  half  past  two  A.M.  on  the  25th,  and  the  thermometer  fell  from 
-h  4°  to  — 1°  at  four  o'clock.     As  the  wind  freshened  again,  the  thermometer 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE. 


167 


once   more   rose,  and  by  eight  A.M.  stood  at  +  10°.      On  the  two  following    1820. 
days   Captain  Sabine  made  some  observations  on  the  difference  in  the  tern-  ...^^^ 
perature  of  the  atmosphere   in  the  sun,  and  in  the  shade  ;  which  shew  the  ^®'^"  ^^* 
effect  of  the  sun's  rays  much  more  correctly  than  those  made  on  board,  as  it 
is  almost  impossible  to  prevent  the  thermometer  from  being  affected  by  the 
radiation  of  heat  from  the  ship.     "  Two  posts  having  been  fixed  in  the  snow, 
at   a   short  distance  apart,   and  connected  by  a  line  passing  through  the 
shadow  cast,  by  the  observatory,  about  the  middle  of  the  day,  two  mercurial 
thermometers,  being  an  exact  pair,  and  having  their  bulbs  unprotected,  were 
suspended  from  the  line,  one  being  exposed  to  the  sun,  and  the  other  in  the 
shade  of  the  observatory ;  the  bulbs  of  both  were  six  or  eight  inches  from 
the  snow." 


h.  m. 

SUN. 

SHADE. 

April  26. 

1  30  P.M. 

+   17   ' 

+   65) 

2  — 
2  13 

22 
23 

7 

7 

'  Calm. 

2  18 

24  5 

7  6 

2  35 

20  5 

6  5 

A  gentle  air. 

2  50 

21 

.    6  7 

6  — 

9  5 

4  5 

April  27. 

11  20  A.M. 

15 

5        > 

11  30 

20 

7 

11  40 

34 

9 

11  45 
11  55 

23  5 

24 

8  5 
8  5 

(  Almost  calm. 

0  25  P.M. 

21 

7 

1  — 

20 

7  5 

2  20 

25 

7  7    ^ 

2  45 

10 

4  5 

A  breeze  spr 

The  morning  of  the  27th  being  very  fine,  and  the  thermometer  at  +  6°,  Thut.  26. 
the  ship's  company's  bedding  was  hung  up  to  air,  between  the  fore  and  main 
rigging,  being  the  first  time  we  had  ventured  to  bring  it  from  the  lower  deck 
for  nearly  eight  months.  While  it  was  out,  the  births  and  bed-places  were 
fumigated  with  a  composition  of  powder  mixed  with  vinegar,  and  known  '"' 
familiarly  by  the  name  oi  devils ;  an  operation  which  had  been  regularly 
gone  through  once  a  week  during  the  winter. 


^ 


168  VOYAGE  FOU  THE  DISCOVERY 

1S20.        This  evening,  and  during  the  whole  night,  we  experienced,  for  the  first  time 
v^,!^  this  season,  a  fog,  such  as  occurs  in  more  temperate  climates,  and  which  the 
sun  dispersed  on  the  following  morning ;  the  same  thing  again  occurred  the 
Frid.  28.  next  day. 

Sat.  29.  At  half-past  two  P.M.  on  the  29th,  Mr.  Edwards  and  myself  observed  the 
clouds  coloured  in  the  same  beautiful  and  delicate  manner  as  on  the  I6th  ; 
except  that  the  tints  were  now  not  so  vivid,  the  clouds  passing  farther  from 
the  sun.  A  parhelion  was  also  seen  on  each  side  of  the  sun  horizontally  ; 
both  were  faint  and  quite  white. 

I  have  before  mentioned  the  circumstance  of  our  lower  rigging  having  been 
very  slack  during  the  severity  of  the  winter,  and  again  become  tight  as  the 
warmer  weather  came  on.  Even  now  this  had  taken  place  so  effectually,  that 
the  rigging  was  full  as  tight  as  when  we  left  the  river  Thames  twelve 
months  before.  I  have  been  the  more  particular  in  mentioning  this  fact, 
because  the  circumstance  of  its  becoming  slack  by  the  cold  is  at  variance  with 
the  accounts  of  other  navigators*. 

For  the  last  three  or  four  days  of  April,  the  snow  on  the  black  cloth 
of  our  housing  had  begun  to  thaw  a  little  during  a  few  hours  in  the 
middle  of  the  day,  and  on  the  30th  so  rapid  a  change  took  place  in  the 
temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  that  the  thermometer  stood  at  the  freezing, 
or  as  it  may  more  properly  be  termed  in  this  climate,  the  thawing  point, 
being  the  first  time  that  such  an  event  had  occurred  for  nearly  eight  months, 
or  since  the  9th  of  the  preceding  September.  This  temperature  was,  to 
our  feelings,  so  much  like  that  of  summer,  that  I  was  under  the  necessity  of 
using  my  authority  to  prevent  the  men  from  making  such  an  alteration  in  their 
clothing  as  might  have  been  attended  with  very  dangerous  consequences.  By 
the  annexed  Abstract  of  the  Hecla's  Meteorological  Journal  for  April,  it  will 
be  seen  how  rapid  was  the  change  of  temperature  during  this  month,  the  ther- 
mometer having  ranged  from  -  32°  to  -+-  32°  in  the  course  of  twenty  days. 
There  was,  at  this  period,  more  snow  upon  the  ground  than  at  any  other  time 
of  the  year,  the  average  depth  on  the  lower  parts  of  the  land  being  four  or 
five  inches,  but  much  less  upon  the  hills ;  while  in  the  ravines  a  very  large 

*  "  On  the  morning  of  the  5th,  (November,)  it  was  discovered  that  almost  all  the  shrouds 
on  the  starboard  side  of  the  ship  were  broken,  which  happened  from  contraction  and 
tenseness,  caused  by  frost." — Account  of  Bering's  Voyage,  A.  D.  1741,  Burney's  North- 
Eastern  Voyages  of  Discovery,  p.  171. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  169 

quantity  had  been  collected.  The  snow  at  this  time  became  so  soft,  from  1820. 
the  influence  of  the  sun  upon  it,  as  to  make  walking  very  laborious  and  ,^^^ 
unpleasant. 

This  rapid  change  in  the  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  again  revived  our 
hopes  of  a  speedy  departure  from  Melville  Island;  and  such  were  the  sanguine 
expectations  which  animated  us  at  this  period,  that  I  believe  there  was  not  an 
officer  or  man,  on  board  either  of  the  ships,  who  had  not  made  up  his  mind  to 
the  probability  of  our  leaving  Winter  Harbour  by  the  middle  or  latter  part  of 
June. 

The  fine  and  temperate  weather  with  which  the  month  of  April  had  c6n-  May. 
eluded,  induced  Captain  Sabine  to  set  the  clocks  going,  in  order  to  commence 
his  observations  for  the  pendulum,  and  he  now  took  up  his  quarters  entirely  ^^°^-  ' 
on  shore  for  that  purpose.  On  the  first  of  May,  however,  it  blew  a  strong 
gale  from  the  northward,  which  made  it  impossible  to  keep  up  the  desired 
temperature  in  the  house  ;  and  so  heavy  was  the  snow-drift,  that  in  a  few 
hours  the  house  was  nearly  covered,  and  we  were  obliged  to  communicate 
with  Captain  Sabine  and  his  attendants  through  a  small  window,  from  which 
the  snow  was,  with  much  labour,  cleared  away,  the  door  being  quite  inac- 
cessible.    We  saw  the  sun  at  midnight  for  the  first  time  this  season. 

The  gale  and  snow-drift  continued  on  the  following  day,  when  we  had  Tues.  2. 
literally  to  dig  out  the  sentries,  who  attended  the  fire  at  the  house,  in  order 
to  have  them  relieved.  I  feel  it  right  to  mention  these  circumstances,  that 
the  difficulties  with  which  Captain  Sabine  had  to  contend,  may  be  duly  ap- 
preciated in  the  making  of  observations  that  require,  even  under  every 
favourable  circumstance  of  weather  and  climate,  no  ordinary  share  of  skill 
and  attention. 

The  day  being  moderate  and  fine  on  the  3d,  we  perceived  that  the  late  Wed.  3. 
gale  had  almost  entirely  uncovered  the  higher  parts  of  the  land,  the  snow 
being  blown  into  the  ravines  and  hollows.  We  remarked,  in  the  forenoon, 
that  the  clouds  had  a  tendency  to  form  two  distinct  arches  across  the  heavens 
from  N.N.E.  to  S.S.W.,  joining  at  the  horizon,  but  separating  gradually  on 
each  side  of  the  zenith,  to  the  distance  of  8°  or  10°  from  each  other.  At  ten 
P.  M.  a  parhelion  was  seen  on  each  side  of  the  sun,  at  the  usual  distance,  and 
slightly  tinged  with  the  prismatic  colours. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  AprU,  1820. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

MaxL 
mum. 

Mini. 

Mean. 

o 

inches 

incties 

inclies. 

1 

-  0 

-16 

—  6.33    ! 

30.02 

30.01 

30.013 

N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy  :  snow. 

2 

—  2 

—25 

—  8.37    i 

30.02 

29.89 

29.955 

Round  the  compass. 

Light  and  variable  with  snow. 

3 

-9 

—26 

—18.71 

29.81 

29.79 

29.798 

North. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

4 

—  8 

—26 

—14.75    ' 

29.86 

29.83 

29.843 

North. 

Ditto              ditto. 

5 

—  6 

-24.5 

—16.62   1 

30.00 

28.86 

21.908 

W.N.W. 

Ditto              ditto. 

6 

—15 

—25 

—18.75 

30.01 

29.96 

29.983 

NJSI.W. 

Fresh  breezes  with  drift. 

7 

-13 

—26 

—21.00 

30.00 

29.89 

29.940 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

8 

—  B 

-29 

—20.46 

29.87 

29.84 

29.855 

North. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

9 

—14 

—30 

—21.85 

29.88 

29.83 

29.850 

S.E. 

Ditto              ditto. 

10 

—12 

—32 

—22.96 

29.80 

29.70 

29.730 

North. 

Ditto              ditto. 

11 

—12 

—27 

—19.67 

29.68 

29.57 

29.620 

North. 

Ditto              ditto. 

12 

—11 

—29 

—20.00 

29.64 

29.52 

29.565 

North. 

Ditto                ditto. 

13 

-15 

-31 

—22.92 

29.85 

29.67 

29.768 

N.byW.  to  South. 

Ditto               ditto. 

14 

—14 

—29 

—19.37 

29.95 

28.89 

29.932 

N.N.E.  to  S.S.E. 

Ditto               ditto. 

15 

+   6 

—17 

—  7.33 

29.72 

29.40 

29.543 

E.S.E. 

From  fresh  to  light  breezes. 

16 

—  5 

—19 

—12.33 

29.90 

29.57 

29.770 

N.N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  clear. 

17 

—  5 

-21 

—13.62 

30.26 

29.94 

30.127 

Round  the  compass. 

Ditto               ditto. 

18 

—  1 

—15 

—  8.17 

30.32 

30.23 

30.288 

Calm. 

Clear  weather. 

19 

+  2 

—13 

—  4.00 

30.23 

29.92 

30.052 

E.S.E. 

Light  airs  and  fine. 

20 

+  4 

—  9 

—  2.21 

29.78 

29.67 

29.697 

East. 

Fresh  breezes  :  snow  and  drift. 

21 

+  3 

-10 

-  3.17 

29.96 

29.70 

29.837 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine.                                        ' 

22 

0 

-12 

-  4.63 

30.00 

29.97 

29.987 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

23 

+  13 

—  5 

+   4,00 

29.89 

29.63 

29.756 

.N.N.E. 

Fresh  breezes  with  drift. 

24 

+  14 

+  4 

+  10.42 

29.71 

29.67 

29.692 

East. 

Fresh  breezes  with  snow  and  drift. 

23 

+  14 

—  7   ■ 

+  4.88 

30.20 

29.70 

29.970 

EasttoS.S.W. 

Moderate  with  snow  and  drift. 

26 

+  11 

—12 

—  1.17 

30.55 

30.25 

30.380 

North. 

Light  airs  and  fine  weather. 

27 

+  9 

—12 

+   0.08, 

30.86 

30.66 

30.803 

North  to  S.E. 

Ditto              ditto. 

28 

+  15 

—  5 

+  4.83 

30.79 

30.46 

30.607 

Round  the  compass. 

Ditto              ditto. 

29 

+  22 

+  3 

+  12.75 

30.66 

30.43 

30.555 

North. 

Light  airs  vrith  snow. 

30 

+  32 

+  6 

+  30.28 

30.67 

30.34 

30.505 

N.W. 

Ditto              ditto 

+  32 

-32 

—  8.37 

30.86 

29.40 

29.978 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  ,171 

Being  desirous  of  making  some  observations  on  the  height  and  time  of  the  1820. 
tides,  I  directed  a  hole  to  be  cut  through  the  ice  under  the  ship's  stern,  and  ^J^ 
a  pole,  graduated  in  the  upper  part  to  feet  and  inches,  dropped  through  it,  Thurs.  4. 
and  securely  moored  by  a  heavy  weight  to  the  bottom.  Our  observations 
commenced  this  afternoon,  and  the  height  indicated  by  the  pole  was  regis- 
tered every  hour  in  the  Hecla's  log-book.  An  abstract  of  the  Tide-table, 
together  with  such  remarks  as  I  have  been  enabled  to  make  on  this  subject, 
will  be  given  hereafter.  The  snow  which  we  had  in  the  autumn  banked  up 
against  the  ships'  sides  was  now  cleared  away,  in  readiness  for  cutting  the  ice 
round  them,  an  operation  which  I  was  anxious  to  perform  previously  to  our 
making  any  alterations  in  the  quantity  or  distribution  of  the  weight  in  our 
holds,  lest  the  ships  should  receive  any  injury  from  doing  so,  in  their  present 
confined  situation.  It  is  of  course  not  easy  to  judge  in  what  degree  the 
banking  up  of  the  snow  had  been  serviceable  in  retaining  the  warmth  within 
the  ships,  but  there  can  be  little  doubt  that  it  produced  a  considerable  effect 
in  this  way,  as  well  perhaps  as  in  lessening,  in  some  measure,  the  thickness 
of  the  ice  which  formed  around  them. 

On  the  5th  Mr.  Edwards  reported  that  Mr.  Crawford,  the  Greenland  mate,  F"<1-  5- 
who  had,  for  several  days  past,  been  complaining  of  pains  which  appeared  to 
be  rheumatic,  shewed  some  symptoms  of  the  scurvy,  which  made  it  necessary 
to  resort  to  the  antiscorbutic  diet.  It  is  worthy  of  notice,  that  Mr.  Crawford 
was  one  of  the  most  clean,  temperate,  and  cheerful  men  in  the  expe- 
dition, and,  as  such,  was  one  of  the  least  likely  to  be  thus  affected.  The 
washed  clothes  of  the  ships'  company  were  this  day  dried  entirely  in  the 
open  air. 

On  the  6th,  the  thermometer  rose  no  higher  than  +  81°  during  the  day ;  Sat.  6. 
but,  as  the  wind  was  moderate,  and  it  was  high  tiriie  to  endeavour  to  get 
the  ships  once  more  fairly  afloat,  we  commenced  the  operation  of  cutting 
the  ice  about  them.  In  order  to  prevent  the  men  suffering  from  wet  and 
cold  feet,  a  pair  of  strong  boots  and  boot-stockings  were  on  this  occasion 
served  to  each,  being  part  of  a  complete  suit  of  warm  clothing,  with  which  I 
had  been  supplied  for  the  purpose  of  issuing  them  to  the  ship's  companies 
gratis,  whenever  I  should  see  occasion.  As  the  sun  became  low  towards 
midnight,  the  usual  parhelia  appeared  about  this  luminary. 

At  half-past  nine  A.M.,  on  the  10th,  Lieutenant  Beechey  observed  a  halo  Wed.  10. 
round  the  sun,  consisting  of  a  complete   circle,  and  an  arch  of  another, 
touching  the  first  in   the  part  immediately  above  the  sun,  and  having  its 

Z2  ■ 

■-  I         !'  ,1 

^—— ——"—"—— —>——««_  ■  -    ■'■ I  I  il    nil,.     .  .|  f 


m 


VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


1820. 
May. 


centre  apparently  from  40°  to  50°  from  that  object.     There  were  two  parhelia 
faintly  prismatic  as  usual,  but  about  3°  without  the  circle. 


O 


O 


Frid, 


This  phenomenon  was  remarkable,  on  account  of  the  parhelia  not  being 
situated  upon  the  halo,  as  was  usually  the  case.  It  now  occurred  to  me, 
that  on  the  preceding  day,  when  the  same  phenomenon  had  been  faintly 
seen  Mr.  Nias,  whom  I  directed  to  measure  the  angular  distance  between 
the  parhelia  and  the  sun,  had  reported  it  to  be  24°  40',  the  radius  of  the 
halo  being  22J^°  as  usual.  This  I  considered  to  have  been  an  unavoidable 
error  in  the  measurement  of  an  ill-defined  object ;  but,  on  repeating  it,  his 
first  report  was  found  to  be  correct.  On  the  present  occasion.  Lieutenant 
Beechey  saw  it  for  so  short   a  time   as   not   to   allow   him   to   measure   the 

distance. 

The  expedition  having,  at  its  departure  from  England,  been  victualled  for 
no  more   than  two   years,  of  which  one  had  now  expired,  I  considered  it 
expedient,  as  a  matter  of  precaution,  to  reduce  the  daily  alloAvance  of  all  the 
kinds  of  provision  to  two-thirds  of  the  established  proportion,  which  re- 
gulation accordingly  took  place  from  this  day.     The  cheerfulness  with  which 
this  reduction  was  received  by  both  officers  and  men,-was  to  me  an  additional 
and  hio-hly-gratifying  proof  of  that  firm  and  zealous  principle  of  duty  by 
which  their  conduct  was  at  all  times  regulated. 
12       On  the  12th,  one  of  the  men,  employed  in  digging  turf  on  shore,  reported 
that  he  had  seen  a  ptarmigan,  an  event  which,  trifling  as  it  was,  created 
no  small   degree  of  interest  among  us,  who  had  now  been  deprived  of  fresh 
meat  for  nearly  six  months ;  it  was  also  hailed  as  a  sure  omen  of  returning 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  173 

summer.  This  was  further  confirmed  by  Mr.  Beverly  having  on  the  13th  l82o 
killed  a  male  ptarmigan,  and  by  another  being  seen  on  the  following  day,  as  .^.-^ 
well  as  the  first  tracks  of  rein-deer  and  musk-oxen,  which  indicated  their 
route  to  be  directly  to  the  northward.  The  time  of  the  return  of  these 
animals  to  Melville  Island,  from  the  continent,  is  thus  satisfactorily  ascer- 
tained; and  it  was  suggested  by  Captain  Sabine,  as  a  circumstance  worthy 
of  remark,  that  the  period  of  their  migration  had  occurred  with  the  first  fine 
weather  Avhich  took  place  after  the  commencement  of  constant  day-light. 
In  examining  the  seeds  and  small  buds  contained  in  the  maw  of  the  bird  killed 
by  Mr.  Beverly,  they  were  found  to  consist  entirely  of  the  native  plants  of  the 
island,  and  principally  those  of  the  dwarf-willow,  so  that  the  bird  had  perhaps 
arrived  a  day  or  two  before  that  time.  On  the  15th,  two  or  three  coveys 
of  ptarmigan  were  seen,  after  which  they  became  more  and  more  numerous, 
and  a  brace  or  two  were  almost  daily  procured  for  the  sick,  for  whose  use 
they  were  exclusively  reserved.  As  it  was  of  the  utmost  importance,  under 
our  present  circumstances,  that  every  ounce  of  game  which  we  might  thus 
procure,  should  be  served  in  lieu  of  the  other  meat,  I  now  renewed  the 
orders  formerly  given,  and  which  afterwards  obtained  among  us  the  name 
of  "  game-laws,"  that  every  animal  killed  was  to  be  considered  as  public 
property ;  and,  as  such,  to  be  regularly  issued  like  any  other  kind  of  pro- 
vision, without  the  slightest  distinction  between  the  messes  of  the  officers 
and  those  of  the  ships'  companies. 

Some  of  our  men,  having,  in  the  course  of  their  shooting  excursions,  been 
exposed  for  several  hours  to  the  glare  of  the  sun  and  snow,  returned  at 
night,  much  affected  with  that  painful  inflammation  in  the  eyes,  occasioned 
by  the  reflection  of  intense  light  from  the  snow,  aided  by  the  warmth  of 
the  sun,  and  called  in  America,  "  snow-blindness."  This  complaint,  of 
which  the  sensation  exactly  resembles  that  produced  by  large  particles  of 
sand  or  dust  in  the  eyes,  is  cured  by  some  tribes  of  American  Indians,  by 
holding  them  over  the  steam  of  warm  water ;  but  we  found  a  cooling  wash, 
made  of  a  small  quantity  of  acetate  of  lead  mixed  with  cold  water,  more 
efficacious  in  relieving  the  irritation,  which  was  always  done  in  three  or 
four  days,  even  in  the  most  severe  cases,  provided  the  eyes  were  carefully 
guarded  from  the  light.  As  a  preventive  of  this  complaint,  a  piece  of  black 
crape  was  given  to  each  man,  to  be  worn  as  a  kind  of  short  veil  attached  to 
the  hat,  which  we  found  to  be  very  serviceable ;  a  still  more  convenient 
mode,  adopted  by  some  of  the  officers,  was  found  equally  efficacious  ;  this 


fT4i  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY. 

1820.    consisted  in  taking  the  glasses  out  of  a  pair  of  spectacles,  and  substituting 
^Ij  black  or  green  crape,  the  glass  having  been  found  to  heat  the  eyes,  and 
increase  the  irritation. 

The  exhalations  arising  from  the  earth  were  about  this  time  observed  to  be 
very  abundant,  producing,  during  the  daytime  much  of  that  appearance  of 
waving  tremulous  motion  in  distant  objects,  which  the  French  call  mirage, 
and  which  was  usually  succeeded  by  a  fog  at  night,  as  soon  as  the  atmosphere 
had  become  cool. 

Tues.  16.  During  one  of  these  fogs,  at  four  A.M.  on  the  16th,  the  sky  being  perfectly 
clear  in  the  zenith  to  30°  of  altitude,  whilst  a  dense  haze  rested  on  the  land 
and  ice.  Captain  Sabine  observed  "  a  haze-bow  of  distinct  and  dazzling  light, 
having  its  edges  softened  off,  and  without  any  appearance  of  prismatic 
colouring.  The  legs  of  the  bow  rose  out  of  a  bluish  haze,  the  colour  of 
tvhich  somewhat  resembled  that  of  weak  starch  ;  not  quite  half  a  circle  was 
complete ;  the  middle  of  the  arch  was  between  22°  and  23°  above  the  land, 
which  is  of  little  elevation,  and  the  legs  were  71°  apart.  The  weather  was 
ftearly  calm,  and  there  had  been  a  considerable  deposition  of  frozen  dew 
throughout  the  night.  Similar  phenomena  were  observed  on  the  mornings  of 
the  20th  and  23d,  about  the  same  hour." 

Wed.  17.      On  the   17th,  we   completed  the  operation  of  cutting  the  ice  round  the 
Hecla,  which  was  performed  in   the  following  manner:     The  ice  alongside 
the  ships  was  found  to  be  six  feet  thick,  being  about  eighteen  inches  less 
than  the  average  thickness  of  it  in  Winter  Harbour,  owing  principally  to  our 
having  continued  to  cut  it  round  the  ships  for  some  time  after  the  commence- 
ment of  the  winter,  and  in  part,  perhaps,  to  the  snow  with  which  it  had 
there  been  thickly  covered.     We  began  by  digging  a  large  hole  under  the 
stern,  being  the  same  as  that  in  which  the  tide-pole  was  placed,  in  order  to 
enter  the  saw,  which  occupied  us  nearly  two   days,  only  a  small  number  of 
men  being  able  to  work  at  it.     In  the  mean  time,  all  the  snow  and  rubbish, 
was  cleared  away  from  the  ship's  side,  leaving  only  the  solid  ice  to  work  j 
upon  ;  and  a  trench,  two  feet  wide,  was  cut  the  whole  length  of  the  starboardj 
side,  from  the  stem  to  the  rudder,  keeping  within  an  inch  or  two  of  thej 
bends,  and  taking   care   here  and   there  to   leave   a  dike,  to   prevent   the 
water  which  might  ooze  into  one  part  from  filling  up  the  others  in  which! 
the  men  were   working.     In   this  manner   was  the  trench  cut   with  axes^l 
to  the  depth  of  about  four  feet  and  a  half,  leaving  only  eighteen  inchesij 
for  the  saws   to   cut,  except   in  those   places   where  the  dikes   remained. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  145 

The  saw  being  then  entered  in  the  hole  under  the  stern,  was  worked  1820 
in  the  usual  manner,  being  suspended  by  a  triangle  made  of  three  spars  ;  ^^^^ 
one  cut  being  made  on  the  outer  part  of  the  trench,  and  a  second  within 
an  inch  or  two  of  the  bends,  in  order  to  avoid  injuring  the  planks.  A 
small  portion  of  ice  being  broken  off  now  and  then  by  bars,  handspikes,  and 
ice-chisels,  floated  to  the  surface,  and  was  hooked  out  by  piecemeal.  This 
operation  was  a  cold  and  tedious  one,  and  required  nine  days  to  complete  it. 
When  the  workmen  had  this  morning  completed  the  trench  Avithin  ten  or 
twelve  feet  of  the  stern,  the  ship  suddenly  disengaged  herself  from  the  ice  to 
which  she  had  before  been  firmly  adhering  on  the  larboard  side,  and  rose  in 
the  water  about  ten  inches  abaft,  and  nearly  eighteen  inches  forward,  with  a 
considerable  surge.  This  disengagement,  to  which  the  sailors  naturally 
applied  the  term  "  launching,"  confirmed  my  supposition,  that  the  ship  was 
held  so  fast  by  the  ice,  as  to  make  it  dangerous  to  alter  materially  the 
stowage  of  the  holds,  but  in  a  manner  the  very  reverse  of  what  I  had 
apprehended.  This  circumstance,  however,  on  consideration,  it  was  not 
difficult  to  explain.  In  the  course  of  the  winter,  the  strong  eddy  winds  about 
the  ships  had  formed  round  them  a  drift  of  snow,  seven  or  eight  feet  deep  in 
some  parts,  and,  perhaps,  weighing  a  hundred  tons ;  by  which  the  ice,  and 
the  ships  with  it,  were  carried  down  much  below  the  natural  level  at  which 
they  would  otherwise  have  floated.  In  the  mean  time  the  ships  had  become 
considerably  lighter,  from  the  expenditure  of  several  months'  provisions ;  so 
that,  on  both  these  accounts,  they  had  naturally  a  tendency  to  rise  in  the 
water  as  soon  as  they  were  set  at  liberty. 

The  ships  being  now  once  more  fairly  afloat,  I  directed  a  strict  and 
careful  survey  to  be  commenced  of  all  the  provisions  and  stores  of  every 
kind  remaining  on  board  each  ship,  and  at  the  same  time  the  Griper  to  be 
supplied  with  the  quantity  which  the  Hecla  had  stowed  for  her,  amounting 
nearly  to  the  proportion  of  every  kind  for  twelve  months.  In  the  mean 
time,  a  party  of  hands  were  occupied  in  breaking  and  weighing  the  stones 
for  ballast,  while  others  were  getting  out  the  sails  and  boats,  and  our  car- 
penters, armourers,  coopers,  and  sail-makers,  having  each  their  respective 
employments,  our  little  colony  now  presented  the  most  busy  and  bustling 
scene  that  can  be  imagined.  It  was  found  necessary  to  caulk  every  part  of 
the  upperworks,  as  well  as  all  the  decks,  the  seams  having  been  so  much 
opened  by  the  frost,  as  to  require  at  least  one,  and  in  many  parts  two 
threads  of  oakum,  though  the  ship  had  scarcely  ever  laboured  at  all  since 


176  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  she  was  last  caulked.  I  also  at  this  time  laid  out  a  small  garden,  planting 
y^r\^  it  with  radishes,  onions,  mustard  and  cress ;  and  a  similar  attempt  was 
made  by  Lieutenant  Liddon :  but,  notwithstanding  every  care  and  attention 
which  could  be  paid  to  it,  this  experiment  may  be  said  to  have  wholly  failed, 
the  radishes  not  exceeding  an  inch  in  length  by  the  latter  end  of  July,  and 
the  other  seeds  being  altogether  thrown  away.  Not  even  a  single  crop  of 
mustard  and  cress  could  be  thus  raised  in  the  open  air ;  and  our  horticulture 
was,  therefore,  once  more  confined  to  my  cabin,  where,  at  the  present  mild 
temperature  of  the  atmosphere,  those  two  vegetables  could  be  raised  without 
any  difficulty,  and  in  considerable  abundance.  I  may  remark,  however,  that 
some  common  ships'  peas,  which  were  sown  by  our  people  for  their  amuse- 
ment, were  found  to  thrive  so  well,  that,  had  I  been  sooner  aware  of  it,  a 
great  quantity  of  the  leaves  at  least  of  this  vegetable  might  have  been  grown, 
which,  when  boiled,  and  eaten  as  greens,  would  have  been  no  small  treat 
to  persons  deprived  of  fresh  vegetable  substance  for  more  than  ten  months. 
It  is  not  improbable  also,  that,  by  the  assistance  of  glass,  the  want  of  which 
deprived  us  of  the  opportunity  of  making  the  experiment,  a  great  deal  more 
miglit  have  been  done  in  this  way,  notwithstanding  the  miserable  climate  with 
f  J  -f^t'T    which  Ave  had  to  contend. 

Sun.  21.  About  the  21st  we  began  to  perceive  a  daily  diminution  of  the  snow  upon 
the  land,  the  brown  soil  appearing  in  patches,  where  hitherto  the  snow  had 

Mon  22.  completely  covered  it ;  and  on  the  22d,  in  the  course  of  a  walk  which  we 
took  to  the  Table-hill,  to  the  westward  of  the  ships,  we  had  the  satisfaction 
of  being  able  to  fill  a  pint  bottle  with  water  from  a  small  pool  of  melted  snow, 
having  a  quantity  of  sand  mixed  with  it,  a  circumstance  which  we  always 
found  to  favour  the  thawing  process.  There  cannot,  perhaps,  be  a  more 
striking  proof  of  the  extreme  severity  of  the  climate  of  Melville  Island  than 
the  fact,  that  this  was  the  first  instance  we  had  known  of  water,  naturally  in  a 
fluid  state  when  exposed  to  the  atmosphere,  and  unassisted  by  artificial 
means,  such  as  those  which  I  have  already  described  as  having  occurred  in 
one  or  two  instances  under  the  ship's  stern,  since  the  middle  of  the  preceding 
September,  being  an  interval  of  more  than  eight  months.  The  Table-hill, 
which  is  seen  at  a  great  distance  on  the  coast,  in  coming  from  the  eastward, 
and  which  forms  a  conspicuous  object  in  this  country  where  there  is  so  little 
to  vary  the  scene,  lies  at  the  distance  of  five  or  six  miles  to  the  westward  of 
the  station  of  the  ships  in  Winter  Harbour.  It  rises  about  a  hundred  feet 
above  the  level  of  the  plain  on  which  it  stands,  the  top  of  it  not  exceeding  in 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  177 

extent  a  quarter  of  an  acre  of  ground.  The  surface  of  it  consists  generally  1820. 
of  sand,  on  which  are  lying  numerous  masses  of  lime-stone,  nearly  the  whole  v.^^ 
of  whicli,  though  varying  in  colour  from  white  to  dark  brown,  have  a  fetid 
smell  when  broken ;  and  many  of  the  specimens  contained  madrepore.  We 
found  here  also  a  quantity  of  clay  iron-stone,  which  is  common  in  this  part  of 
Melville  Island,  together  with  pieces  of  flint,  granite,  and  other  substances, 
which  are  described  in  the  Appendix.  During  this  excursion,  too,  we  dis- 
overed,  with  pleasure,  that  the  sorrel  (Riimex  digi/nus,  Linn. J  was  extremely 
abundant  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  ships,  a  root  or  two  of  this  valuable 
antiscorbutic  plant  occurring  in  almost  every  tuft  of  moss  which  we  met  with. 
No  appearance  of  its  beginning  to  vegetate  could  yet,  however,  be  perceived  ; 
and  we  began  to  look  with  impatience  for  the  sprouting  of  its  leaves,  from 
which  we  hoped  to  obtain  a  supply  of  fresh  vegetable  matter,  of  which,  perhaps 
in  reality,  we  all  began  to  stand  in  need.  About  two  hundred  yards  to  the 
westward  of  this  hill  is  another  rather  smaller,  but  very  similar  in  appearance, 
and  composed  of  the  same  mineral  substances  as  that  just  described ;  in 
coming  from  the  eastward,  the  second  hill  is  not  seen,  being  hid  behind 
the  other. 

Having  considered  that  an  examination  of  the  extent  and  productions  of  Tues.  23. 
the  island  might  be  conducive  to  the  improvement  of  the  geography  and 
natural  history  of  these  regions,  and  the  good  state  of  health  enjoyed  by 
the  crews,  permitting  a  certain  number  of  men  to  be  spared  from  each 
ship  during  their  equipment  for  sea,  I  now  determined  to  undertake  a  journey 
into  the  interior,  for  this  purpose,  accompanied  by  a  certain  number  of 
officers  and  men  who  volunteered  their  services  on  the  occasion  ;  and  the  1st 
of  June  was  fixed  for  our  departure.  The  Griper's  sick-list  had  noAv  been 
reduced  to  one  person,  whose  only  complaint  was  debility  from  a  late  attack 
of  scurvy  ;  and  William  Scott,  whom  I  have  before  had  occasion  to  mention, 
was  the  only  patient  on  board  the  Hecla.  The  case  of  this  man  had  been 
such  as,  for  some  time  past,  to  baffle  Mr.  Edwards's  endeavours  to  produce  a 
favourable  change,  his  complaint  appearing  to  be  more  mental  than  corporeal, 
and,  therefore,  one  which  no  medicine  could  be  expected  to  cure. 

Previously  to  my  intended  departure,  I  was  occupied  in  measuring  a 
base  upon  the  ice  across  the  mouth  of  the  haibour,  and  in  taking  the 
necessary  angles  for  the  survey,  which  was  carried  to  the  eastward  be- 
yond Fife's  Harbour,  principally  for  the  purpose  of  connecting  our  obser- 
vations here  with  those  obtained  by  Captain  Sabine  on  the  6th  of  the  pre- 


178  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    ceding  September,  on  Avhich  the  correction  of  the  longitudes  observed  during 
v,^  the  navigation  of  1819,  in  part  depended. 

Wed.  24-  Early  on  the  morning  of  the  24th,  Mr.  Allison  reported  that  he  had  felt  a 
few  drops  of  rain  fall  upon  his  face,  an  event  which  we  had  scarcely  dared  to 
anticipate  so  soon,  but  which  was  hailed  with  much  satisfaction,  as  nothing 
appears  to  be  so  effectual  as  rain  in  producing  the  dissolution  of  the  ice.  The 
clouds  had  a  watery  appearance  throughout  the  day,  and  at  half-past  eight  in 
the  evening,  we  were  agreeably  surprised  by  a  smart  shower  of  rain  which  was 
shortly  after  succeeded  by  several  others.  We  had  been  so  unaccustomed  to 
see  water  naturally  in  a  fluid  state  at  all,  and  much  less  to  see  it  fall  from  the 
heavens,  that  such  an  occurrence  became  a  matter  of  considerable  curiosity, 
and  I  believe  every  person  on  board  hastened  on  deck  to  witness  so  interesting 
as  well  as  novel  a  phenomenon.  The  rain  which  fell  in  the  course  of  the 
evening,  made  several  little  pools  upon  the  ice,  which  now  remained,  unfrozen 
for  twelve  or  fourteen  hours  in  the  day,  as  did  also  the  sea-water  around  the 
ships.  Two  ivory  gulls  (Larus  Eburneus)  were  reported  to  have  been  seen  in 
the  course  of  this  day  by  a  party  employed  in  cutting  turf  on  shore. 
Sat.  27.  I  am  now  to  mention  an  occurrence  which  took  place  at  this  period,  and 
on  which  I  should  gladly  be  silent,  but  that  it  is  intimately  connected  with 
the  important  subject  of  the  health  of  seamen  in  this  and  in  every  other 
climate:  It  Avas  reported  to  me,  through  one  or  two  of  the  Hecla's  petty- 
officers,  that  one  of  our  seamen,  whose  name  I  am  unwilling  to  record,  and 
who  had  lately  been  cured,  by  the  greatest  care  and  attention,  of  a  rather 
severe  attack  of  the  scurvy,  had  been  in  the  frequent  habit  of  eating  with  his 
bread  a  quantity  of  the  skimmings  of  the  water  in  which  salt  meat  is  boiled, 
called  by  tjje  sailors  "  slush."  This  kind  of  fat  or  grease,  which  is  always 
understood  to  be  a  perquisite  of  the  cooks  in  His  Majesty's  navy,  and  the  use 
of  which  is  well-known  to  be  in  the  highest  degree  productive  of  scurvy,  had 
always  been  a  source  of  considerable  anxiety  and  apprehension  to  me  during 
the  voyage.  Soon  after  our  leaving  England,  when  the  issuing  of  salt-meat 
commenced,  I  sent  for  the  cook  of  the  Hecla,  and  in  presence  of  the  officers, 
warned  him  on  no  account  ever  to  permit  a  particle  of  this  slush  to  be  used  by 
the  ship's  company ;  and,  on  condition  of  his  faithfully  complying  with  this 
injunction,  I  permitted  him,  under  certain  restrictions,  to  preserve  it  in  casks, 
for  his  own  future  benefit.  With  these  directions  the  cook  had,  I  believe, 
punctually  complied  till  the  middle  of  the  winter;  when  he  had  been  gradu- 
ally led  into  a  practice  of  furnishing  the  people  occasionally  with  a  small  quan- 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  '  179 

tity  of  fat  to  burn  in  their  lamps  ;  of  this,  the  man  alluded  to,  had,  it  seems, 
taken  advantage,  and  used  it  as  an  article  of  diet  in  the  manner  described. 
Being  determined  immediately  to  check  so  pernicious  a  practice,  I  charged 
him  with  his  offence  in  presence  of  the  officers  and  ship's  company,  pointing 
out  to  them,  at  the  same  time,  the  ingratitude  with  which  he  had  repaid  the 
care  taken  of  him  during  his  late  illness.  It  gave  me  great  satisfaction  to  find 
that  the  men  were  disposed  to  view  this  act  with  a  degree  of  indignation  little 
short  of  that  which  I  feel  it  my  duty  to  express  on  this  occasion,  some  of 
them,  as  I  found,  having  repeatedly  spoken  to  him  before  upon  the  subject. 
Having,  therefore,  directed  that  the  offender  should  be  punished  by  wearing 
upon  his  back  a  badge,  which  would  expose  him  for  a  time  to  the  contempt 
and  derision  of  his  shipmates,  I  felt  satisfied  that  no  future  instance  would 
occur  of  an  offence  which  might  prove  so  fatal  to  the  cause  in  which  we  were 
engaged. 

Early  on  the  morning  of  the  29th,  the  wind  increased  tb  a  fresh  gale  from  Mon.  29. 
the  northward  and  westward,  which  continued  during  the  day,  with  a  heavy 
fall  of  snow  and  a  tremendous  drift  that  prevented  our  seeing  to  the  dis- 
tance of  more  than  twenty  yards  around  the  ships.  The  following  day  being  Tues.  30. 
fine,  I  took  my  travelling  party  to  the  top  of  the  north-east  hill,  in  order  to 
try  the  cart,  which  had  been  constructed  for  carrying  the  tents  and  baggage, 
and  which  appeared  to  answer  very  well.  The  view  from  this  hill  was  not 
such  as  to  offer  much  encouragement  to  our  hopes  of  future  advancement  to 
tlie  westward.  The  sea  still  presented  the  same  unbroken  and  continuous 
surface  of  solid  and  impenetrable  ice,  and  this  ice  could  not  be  less  than  from 
six  to  seven  feet  in  thickness,  as  wc  knew  it  to  be  about  the  ships.  When 
to  this  circumstance  was  added  the  consideration,  that  scarcely  the  slightest 
symptoms  of  thawing  had  yet  appeared,  and  that  in  three  weeks  from  this 
period  the  sun  would  again  begin  to  decline  to  the  southward,  it  must  be 
confessed,  that  the  most  sanguine  and  enthusiastic  among  us  had  some  reason 
to  be  staggered  in  the  expectations  they  had  formed  of  the  complete  accom- 
plishment of  our  enterprise. 

.  JiHiiyij  oj.  lyya  juutwyu  011  uu  iimi  byjiiiiw 

itau  ,mirf  boiiinnaq  I  ,ao\ioau\iii 

— -'f     .ih'n^o(i  snjJii'i  awo  siri  i6i 

'\mn  orft  IliJ  bailffnioa,  ^Uauionvq 
anoigfiooo  aJqosq  osli  ^niriyimui  ^o  soiiojjiq  s  ohii  bsi  -^Ilfi 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  ke 

pt  on  boaid  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  May, 

1820. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini. 

Mean. 

1 

-fz 

°0 

o 
+   8.58 

inches. 
30.48 

inches. 
30.31 

inches. 
30.342 

North. 

Strong  gales  to  moderate  and  cloudy. 

2 

+  11 

-   1 

6.25 

30.46 

30.39 

30.418 

North. 

Strong  breezes  and  fine. 

3 

+  15 

+  2 

9.25 

30.42 

30.39 

30.403 

f          North.          I 
i           N.W.        I 

Moderate  and  fine. 

4 

+  16 

0 

7.67 

30.41 

30.38 

30.398 

N.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

6 

+  20 

+  2 

11.58. 

30.36 

30.26 

30.312 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  with  drift. 

6 

+  8.6 

-  2 

3.83 

30.24 

30.09 

30.155 

N.N.W. 

Strong  breezes  and  fine. 

7 

+   5 

-  4 

0.79 

30.05 

29.98 

30.007 

N.N.W.  North. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

8 

+   8 

-  2 

3.00 

29.99 

29.98 

29.982 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

9 

+  9 

-   1 

4.67 

30.03 

29.93 

29.985 

North. 

Ditto.                   ditto 

10 

+  10 

+   1 

5.62 

30.07 

30.00 

30.027 

North. 

Ditto.                   ditto. 

11 

+  10 

-1.5 

4.17 

30.14 

30.08 

30.113 

North. 

Ditto.                   ditto. 

12 

+  18 

-   1 

8.62 

30.19 

30.15 

30.168 

North. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

13 

+  17 

-  1 

7.62 

30.34 

30.19 

30.262 

N.W. 

Ditto.                   ditto. 

14 

+  17    • 

-  3 

7.50 

30.41 

30.36 

30.393 

Calm. 

Fine  clear  weather. 

15 

+  19.5 

-    1 

9.42 

30.38 

30.26 

30.317 

Calm. 

Ditto.                 ditto. 

16 

+24 

-  2 

12.67 

30.23 

30.19 

30.200 

Cahn. 

Hazy  weather. 

17 

+  29 

+   7 

18.50 

30.24 

^30.21 

30.228 

(          North.          I 
i          N.W.          5 

Light  breezes  and  hazy. 

18 

+  24 

+  10 

18.00 

30.31 

30.23 

30.272 

N.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

19 

+  25 

+  10 

17.75 

30.27 

30.24 

30.258 

North 

Ditto           ditto. 

20 

+  25 

+  10 

10.98 

30.20 

30.10 

30.160 

South. 

Ditto           ditto. 

21 

+  29 

+   6 

18.83 

30.11 

29.99 

30.025 

South. 

Ditto           ditto. 

22 

+  32 

+  12 

23.00 

30.21 

30.02 

30.102 

South. 

Ditto            ditto. 

23 

+  34 

+  20 

27.29 

30.30 

30  00 

30.193 

North  to  S.S.E. 

Moderate  breezes  and  cloudy. 

24 

+  38 

+  25 

32.71 

30.12 

29.75 

29.893 

E.S.E. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

25 

+  40'.5 

+  32 

36.33 

29.99 

29.74 

29.870 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

26 

+  3G.5 

+  30 

33.04 

30.20 

30.00 

30.122 

(   S.S.E.  bv  West  } 
\       to  N.N.W.       ] 

Light  winds  and  fine. 

27 

+  47 

+  S2.5 

39.17 

30.02 

29.93 

29.982 

South. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

28 

+  37 

+  33 

34.96 

29.81 

29.27 

29.582 

East. 

Moderate  and  cloudy  with  rain,  hail  and  snow. 

29 

+  33 

+  24 

.26.54 

29.60 

29.25 

29.403 

N.W. 

Strong  gales  and  hea^-y  drift. 

30 

+  38 

+  24 

31.08 

29.90 

29.71 

29.853 

N.N  W,  to  W.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

31 

■)3d 

+  27 

30.92 
+16.66 

29.98 

29.89 

29.933 

N.E. 

Moderate  and  hazy  with  small  snow. 

+  47     -  4 

30.48 

29.25 

30.109 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  181 


CHAPTER  VIII. 


JOURNEY   ACROSS  MELVILLE  ISLAND    TO  THE  NORTHERN  SHORE,  AND   RETURN 
TO  THE  SHIPS  BY  A  DIFFERENT  ROUTE. 


1  HE  weather  being  favourable  on  the  morning  of  the  1st  of  June,  I  made    1820. 
such   arrangements    as  were   necessary,  previous   to  my  departure    on    our  ,^^^ 
intended  journey.     I  directed  Lieutenants  Liddon  and  Beechey  to  proceed  Tlmrs.  1. 
with  all  possible  despatch  in  the  equipment  of  the  ships  for  sea,  having  them 
ready  to  sail  by  the  end  of  June,  in  order  that  we  might  be  able  to  take 
advantage  of  any  favourable  alteration  in  the  state  of  the  ice  at  an  earlier 
period  than  present  appearances  allowed  us  to  anticipate. 

The  party  selected  to  accompany  me,  out  of  the  numerous  volunteers  on 
this  occasion,  consisted  of  Captain  Sabine,  Messrs.  Fisher,  Nias,  and  Reid, 
Serjeant  M'Mahon,  of  the  Marines,  Serjeant  Martin,  of  the  Artillery,  and 
three  seamen  and  two  Marines,  belonging  to  both  ships,  making  a  total  of 
twelve,  including  myself  We  were  suppdicd  with  provisions  for  three  weeks, 
according  to  the  daily  proportion  of  one  pound  of  biscuit,  two-thirds  of  a 
pound  of  Donkin's  preserved  meat,  one  ounce  of  salep  powder,  one  ounce  of 
sugar,  and  half  a  pint  of  spirits,  for  each  man.  Two  tents,  of  the  kind  called 
in  the  army  horsemen's  tents,  were  made  of  blankets,  with  two  boarding- 
pikes,  fixed  across  at  each  end,  and  a  ridge  rope  along  the  top,  which,  | 
with  stones  laid  upon  the  foot  of  the  blankets,  made  a  very  comfortable  and  I "-  i 
portable  shelter.  These  tents,  with  the  whole  of  the  provisions,  together  with 
a  conjuror  or  cooking  apparatus,  and  a  small  quantity  of  wood  for  fuel,  amount- 
ing in  the  whole  to  eight  hundred  pounds,  were  carried  upon,  a  strong  but  light)  ~"j 


182  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

cart,  constructed  for  the  purpose ;  this  method  having  been  decided  on  as  the 
most  convenient  for  the  country  in  which  we  were  about  to  travel. 

Each  officer  and  man  was  also  furnished  with  a  blanket  made  into  a  bag, 
with  a  drawing  string  at  each  end,  a  pair  of  spare  shoes  and  stockings,  a 
flannel  shirt,  and  a  cap  to  sleep  in.  The  clothing  and  blankets  were  carried 
on  our  backs  in  knapsacks,  those  of  the  officers  weighing  from  seventeen  to 
twenty-four  pounds  each,  and  one  between  every  two  men  Aveighing  twenty- 
four  pounds,  to  be  carried  for  half  a  day  alternately.  Mr.  Dealey,  with  a  party 
of  three  men,  was  appointed  to  attend  us  for  the  first  day's  journey,  to  assist 
in  carrying  our  baggage,  and  then  to  return  to  the  ships.  It  was  my  intention 
to  proceed  as  directly  north  as  possible,  and  if  we  came  to  the  sea  in  that 
direction,  to  turn  to  the  westward,  making  such  a  circuit  in  returning  to 
Winter  Harbour  as  might  occupy  from  one  to  three  weeks,  according  to  cir- 
cumstances. It  was  proposed  to  travel  entirely  at  night,  if  any  part  of  the 
twenty-four  hours  could  properly  now  be  so  called,  Avhen  the  sun  was  con- 
stantly above  the  horizon.  This  plan  was  considered  to  be  advantageous,  both 
for  the  sake  of  sleeping  during  the  warmth  of  the  day,  and  to  avoid,  as  much" 
as  possible,  the  glare  of  the  sun  upon  the  snow  while  travelling. 

At  five  P.M.,  we  left  the  ships,  accompanied  by  a  large  party  of  officers 
and  men  from  each,  who  were  desirous  of  relieving  us  from  the  weight  of  our 
knapsacks  for  an  hour  or  two ;  and,  having  been  cheered  by  the  ships  on  our 
departure,  we  went  round  the  head  of  the  harbour,  and  ascended  the  north- 
east hill.  This  route  was  chosen  on  account  of  the  ground  being  clear  of 
snow,  only  on  the  ridges  and  higher  parts  of  the  land.  Our  companions  left 
us  at  eight  P.M.,  and  we  proceeded  across  a  level  plain  almost  entirely 
covered  with  snow,  which,  however,  was  so  hard  as  to  make  the  travelling 
very  good ;  and  the  cart  was  dragged  along  without  difficulty.  At  eleven  P.M., 
we  came  to  three  remarkable  round  hills,  composed  entirely  of  sand  and 
masses  of  sandstone,  and  halted  to  dine  close  to  the  northward  of  them. 
Those  parts  of  the  land  which  were  clear  of  snow,  appeared  to  be  more 
productive  than  those  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  W^inter  Harbour, 
the  dwarf-willow,  sorrel,  and  poppy  (Papaver  Nudicaule),  being  more  abun* 
dant,  and  the  moss  more  luxuriant ;  we  could  not,  however,  collect  a  suffi- 
cient quantity  of  the  slender  wood  of  the  Avillow  in  a  dry  state,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  dissolving  snow  for  water,  and  were,  therefore,  obliged  to  use  a  part 
of  the  fuel  which  we  had -provided  for  that  purpose.  The  thermometer  stood 
at  31°  atmidniffht.    ■suiad  3ii  to  idi/..  >iiiff  Mty  >Miiq'mo 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  183 

Having  set  off  soon  after  midnight,  at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile  in  aN.b.E.  1820. 
direction,  we  came  to  a  piece  of  frozen  water  half  a  mile  in  length,  and  two  v,Ji^ 
hundred  yards  Avide,  situated  on  the  south  side  of  the  range  of  hills  which  ^'""'-  ~- 
bound  the  prospect  from  Winter  Harbour.  The  i6e,  on  the  surface  of  this 
lake  or  pond,  was  in  some  parts  nearly  dissolved,  and  in  all  too  soft  to 
allow  us  to  cross  it.  We  here  saw  a  pair  of  ducks,  one  of  which  being 
white  and  the  other  brown,  we  supposed  them  to  be  of  that  species  called 
king  ducks  (Anas  Spectabilis.)  We  soon  after  came  in  sight  of  an  extensive 
level  space  to  the  north-westward,  upon  which  not  a  single  dark  spot  could 
be  distinguished,  even  with  a  glass,  to  break  the  uniformity  of  the  snow 
with  which  it  was  covered,  till  it  appeared  to  terminate  in  a  range  of  lofty 
hills  which  we  had  occasionally  seen  from  the  southward,  and  which,  from 
the  appearance  given  them  by  their  distance,  we  had  called  the  Blue  Hills. 
We  had,  for  some  time  past,  entertained  an  idea,  from  their  bold  and 
precipitous  appearance  in  some  parts,  that  water  would  be  found  at  the  foot 
of  them ;  and  had  we  not  been  certain  that  we  had  now  ascended  three  or  four 
hundred  feet  above  the  level  of  Winter  Harbour,  the  appearance  of  the  plain 
before  us,  which  resembled  a  branch  of  the  sea  covered  with  ice,  would  have 
confirmed  us  in  this  idea.  We  halted  at  half-past  six  A.M.,  and  pitched  the 
tents  on  the  hardest  ground  we  could  find,  but  it  became  quite  swampy  in 
the  course  of  the  day.  We  killed  seven  ptarmigan,  and  saw  two  plovers 
(Charadrius  Pluvialis),  and  two  deer,  being  the  first  we  had  met  with  this  season, 
with  a  fawn,  so  small,  as  to  leave  no  doubt  of  its  having  been  dropped  since 
the  arrival  of  the  female  upon  the  island.  They  were  so  wild  as  not  to 
allow  us  to  approach  them  within  a  quarter  of  a  mile.  The  day  was  fine 
with  light  and  variable  airs  ;  the  thermometer  stood  at  34°,  in  the  shade,  at 
seven  A.M.,  at  which  time  it  was  unfortunately  broken. 

At  five  P.M.,  we  struck  the  tents,  and  having  detained  one  of  Mr.  Dealey's 
party  to  accompany  us,  I  despatched  him  to  the  ships  with  the  others,  and 
then  continued  our  journey  to  the  northward,  having  first  made  the  necessary 
observations  for  determining  our  position.  These  and  the  rest  of  our  abser- 
vations  for  latitude  and  longitude,  obtained  during  this  jourrity,  were  made 
with  a  sextant  and  artificial  horizon,  and  the  longitudes  are  by  the  chrono- 
meter, No.  2109  of  Arnold,  which  I  carried  in  my  pocket.  t 

As  we  proceeded  to  the  northward,  the  delusion  respecting  the  level  plain 
to  the  westward,  began  to  wear  off,  some  brown  spots  being  here  and  there 
perceptible   with  a  glass,  which  left  no  doubt  of  its  being  principally,  if  not 


184  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

entirely,  land.  Beyond  this  plain,  however,  there  was  a  piece  of  bold  land 
in  the  distance,  having  every  appearance  of  an  island,  lying  between  the  Blue 
Hills  on  the  north,  and  some  high  land  to  the  south.  There  was  a  bright  and 
dazzling  ice-blink  over  the  plain  of  snow,  and  exactly  corresponding  with  it, 
as  to  extent  and  position. 
Sat.  18.  Having  halted  three  hours  to  dine  and  rest,  we  again  set  forward  at 
two  A.M.,  on  the  3d,  crossing  one  or  two  ravines,  running  E.N.E.  and 
W.S.W.,  in  which  there  was  a  large  collection  of  snow,  but  as  yet  no 
appearance  of  water  in  the  bottom  of  them.  Captain  Sabine  and  myself  being 
considerably  a-head  of  the  rest  of  the  party,  had  sat  down  to  wait  for 
them,  Avhen  a  fine  rein-deer  came  trotting  up,  and  played  round  us  for 
a  quarter  of  an  hour,  within  thirty  yards.  We  had  no  gun,  nor  do  I 
know  that  we  should  have  killed  it,  if  we  had,  there  being  already  as  much 
weight  upon  the  cart  as  the  men  could  well  drag ;  and  having  no  fuel  to 
spare  for  cooking ;  besides,  we  felt  it  would  have  been  but  an  ill  return  for 
the  confidence  which  he  seemed  willing  to  place  in  us.  On  hearing  our  people 
talking  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  ravine,  the  deer  immediately  crossed 
over,  and  went  directly  up  to  them,  with  very  little  caution ;  and,  they 
being  less  scrupulous  than  we  were,  one  or  two  shots  were  immediately 
fired  at  him,  but  without  efiect ;  on  which  he  again  crossed  over  to  where 
we  were  sitting,  approaching  us  nearer  than  before.  As  soon  as  we  rose  up 
and  walked  on,  he  accompanied  us  like  a  dog,  sometimes  trotting  a-head 
of  us,  and  then  returning  within  forty  or  fifty  yards.  When  we  halted,  at  six 
A.M.,  to  make  the  usual  observations,  he  remained  by  us  till  the  rest  of  the 
party  came  up,  and  then  trotted  off.  The  rein-deer  is  by  no  means  a 
o-raceful  animal ;  its  high  shoulders  and  an  awkward  stoop  in  its  head,  giving 
it  rather  a  deformed  appearance.  Our  new  acquaintance  had  no  horns, 
he  was  of  a  brownish  colour,  with  a  black  saddle,  a  broad  black  rim 
round  the  eyes,  and  very  white  about  the  tail.  We  observed  that  whenever 
he  was  about  to  set  off,  he  made  a  sort  of  playful  gambol,  by  rearing  on  his 
hind  legs. 

The  latitude  observed  here  was  75°  06'  58",  the  longitude  1 10°  30'  32",  and 
the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  128°  30'  14."  easterly.  We  had  passed, 
durino-  our  last  march,  a  good  deal  of  rich  soil,  consisting  principally  of 
decayed  moss  and  other  vegetable  substance  mixed  with  sand  ;  and  the  sorrel 
and  saxifrage  (Saxifraga  oppositifolia)  were  more  abundant  than  before. 

A  fog,  which  had  prevailed  during  the  early  part  of  the  day,  having  cleared 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  185 

siway  in  the  afternoon,  we  struck  the  tents  at  five  P.M.,  and  having  travelled    I820. 
three  quarters  of  a  mile,  came  to  a  ravine  not  less  than  a  hundred  feet  deep. 


and  in  most  parts  nearly  perpendicular.  A  place  was  at  length  found  in  which 
the  cart  could  be  got  across,  which  we  succeeded  in  effecting,  through  very 
deep  snow,  after  an  hour's  labour.  On  the  north  side  of  this  ravine  large 
masses  of  sand-stone  were  lying  on  the  surface  of  the  ground,  over  which  the 
cart  could  with  difficulty  be  dragged ;  and  we  remarked  on  this,  and  several 
other  occasions,  that  the  stones  which  were  bruised  by  the  wheels  emitted  a 
strong  smell,  like  that  of  fetid  limestone  when  broken,  though  we  could  never 
discover  any  of  that  substance.  In  some  of  the  sand-stone  we  found  pieces 
of  coal  embedded ;  and  some  large  pieces  of  a  slaty  kind  of  that  mineral, 
which  burned  indifferently,  were  also  picked  up  in  the  ravine. 

We  had  hitherto,  as  we  judged,  rather  ascended  than  otherwise  since 
leaving  the  north-east-hill  of  Winter  Harbour,  and  the  height  of  this  part 
of  the  island  may  be  estimated  at  three  or  four  hundred  feet  above  the  level 
of  the  sea.  At  two  miles  and  a  quarter  to  the  northward  of  the  ravine,  we 
entered  upon  a  snowy  plain,  of  which  we  could  not  see  the  termination  to  the 
northward.  Here  and  there  only  we  came  to  a  small  patch  of  uncovered 
land,  on  one  of  which  we  observed  the  sand  and  sand-stone  to  be  tinged  of  a 
light  brick  colour.  We  halted  to  dine  before  midnight,  having  made  good, 
by  our  account,  a  distance  of  only  five  miles,  and  that  with  difficulty,  the  snow 
being  soft,  which  made  travelling  very  laborious.  We  found  here  nothing  but 
two  small  pools  of  dirty  water,  but,  as  it  was  of  importance  to  save  our  wood  in 
case  of  accidents,  we  went  on  an  allowance  of  half  a  pint  of  this  water  each, 
rather  than  expend  any  of  it  in  melting  snow,  a  process  requiring  more  fuel 
than  perhaps  those  who  have  never  made  the  experiment  are  aware  of.  There 
was  no  vegeta*'on  in  this  place,  even  the  poppy  having  now  forsaken  us. 

At  two  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  the  4th  we  continued  our  journey  to  the  Sun.4. 
northward,  over  the  same  snoAvy  and  level  plain  as  before,  than  which  it  is 
impossible  to  conceive  any  thing  more  dreary  and  uninteresting.  It  frequently 
happened  that,  for  an  hour  together,  not  a  single  spot  of  uncovered  ground 
could  be  seen.  The  few  patches  of  this  kind  forcibly  reminded  one  of  the 
description  given  of  the  oases  in  the  deserts  of  Africa,  not  only  because  they 
relieved  us  for  a  time  from  the  intense  glare  of  the  sun  upon  the  snow,  which 
was  extremely  oppressive  to  the  eyes,  but  because  it  was  on  these  alone  that 
we  could  pitch  our  tents  to  rest,  or  that  we  could  expect  to  meet  with  any 
water.     The  breeze  freshened  up  to  a  gale  from  the  S.S.E.  as  we  proceeded, 


186  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  and  the  men,  as  if  determined  not  to  forget  that  they  were  sailors,  set  a  large 
v.,^^  blanket  upon  the  cart  as  a  sail,  which,  upon  the  present  level  ground,  was 
found  to  be  of  material  assistance.  The  snow  was  deep,  and  rather  soft, 
which  made  the  travelling  heavy  ;  and  as  the  wind  produced  a  good  deal  of 
snow-drift,  most  of  the  bare  patches  of  ground  became  covered  up,  so  that 
when  our  time  for  halting  had  arrived,  not  a  piece  of  ground  could  be  seen  on 
which  to  pitch  the  tents.  Captain  Sabine  and  myself  went  forward  to  look 
out  for  a  spot,  and  at  length  were  fortunate  to  meet  with  one,  on  which  there 
was  just  room  for  our  little  encampment.  It  was  with  some  difficulty,  by 
building  a  wall  with  stones  and  our  knapsacks,  that  we  prevented  its  being 
covered  with  snow  before  the  party  came  up,  which  they  did  at  half-past 
seven  A.M.,  having  travelled  ten  miles  in  a  N.W.b.N.  direction.  We  saw  a 
few  fox-tracks,  but  no  animals,  nor  the  smallest  symptom  of  vegetation, 
during  this  march.  It  is  not  improbable,  however,  that  these  snowy  plains, 
when  uncovered  by  the  warmth  of  summer,  may  present  a  more  luxuriant 
vegetation  than  is  elsewhere  to  be  met  with  on  this  island. 

By  the  time  we  had  secured  the  tents  the  wind  blew  hard,  with  a  continued 
fall  as  well  as  drift  of  snow,  so  that  we  could  not  but  consider  ourselves  for- 
tunate in  having  met  with  a  spot  of  ground  in  good  time.  Notwithstanding 
the  inclemency  of  the  weather,  we  found  the  tents  afford  us  very  comfortable 
and  sufficient  shelter,  the  cart  being  tilted  up  to  windward  of  them,  so  as  to 
break  in  some  measure  the  violence  of  the  wind ;  and  when  wrapped  up,  or  rather 
enclosed  in  our  blanket-bags,  we  were  generally  quite  warm  enough  to  enjoy 
the  most  sound  and  refreshing  repose.  I  may  here  notice,  once  for  all,  that 
the  moment  the  tents  were  pitched,  however  short  the  time  for  which  it  was 
proposed  to  halt,  every  man  was  directed  immediately  to  change  his  shoes  and 
stockings,  and  at  the  same  time  had  his  feet  examined  by  Mr.  Fisher.  As  it 
froze  hard  every  night,  we  used  only  to  get  our  things  dried  during  the  noon 
halting,  so  that  we  were  always  under  the  necessity  of  putting  on  the  same 
wet  boots  and  stockings  after  resting  at  midnight.  This  was  the  only  way  to 
make  certain  of  dry  stockings  for  sleeping  in,  and  as  we  were  sure  to  be  wet 
in  half  an  hour  after  starting,  our  putting  on  wet  ones  to  walk  in  was  of  little 
consequence.  I  insist  the  more  on  this  circumstance,  because  it  is  to  our  at- 
tention to  these  precautions  that  I  attribute  the  good  health  we  enjoyed 
during  the  journey.  To  this,  indeed,  we  had  one  exception.  Captain  Sabine 
having  suffered  some  uneasiness  from  indigestion,  in  consequence  of  having 
eaten  some  of  the  salep-powder  badly  mixed ;  but  by  attention  to  his  diet, 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  187 

together  with  a  little  medicine,  the  complaint  was  soon  removed.  It  is  scarcely 
possible  perhaps  to  imagine  the  comfort  which  was  afforded  in  this  instance 
by  the  small  quantity  of  fuel  we  were  provided  with,  as  it  enabled  us  to 
furnish  Captain  Sabine  with  one  or  two  warm  messes  which  chiefly  contri- 
buted to  his  recovery ;  and  we,  therefore,  determined  to  use  no  more  of  our 
wood  except  under  similar  circumstances. 

It  continued  to  blow  and  snow  till  seven  P.M.,  when  the  wind  havino- 
veered  to  the  S.W.,  and  become  more  moderate,  we  struck  the  tents ;  and 
having  now  placed  the  men's  knapsacks  on  the  cart  to  enable  them  to  drag 
with  greater  facility,  we  proceeded  on  our  journey  to  the  northward.  We 
passed  a  narrow  but  deep  ravine  lying  across  our  course,  in  some  parts  of 
which  the  snow  reached  nearly  to  a  level  with  the  banks,  forming  a  kind  of 
bridges  or  causeways,  on  one  of  which  we  crossed  without  difficulty.  The 
men  had  hoisted  one  sail  upon  the  cart  at  first  setting  off;  but  the  wind  being 
now,  as  they  expressed  it  "  on  the  larboard  quarter,"  a  second  blanket  was 
rigged  as  a  main-sail,  to  their  great  amusement  as  well  as  relief. 

After  crossing  a  second  ravine,  on  the  north  side  of  which  the  ground  rose 
considerably,  we  entered  upon  another  snowy  plain,  where  there  was  nothing 
to  be  seen  in  any  direction  but  snow  and  sky.  To  make  it  the  more  dreary, 
a  thick  fog  came  on  as  the  night  advanced,  and  as  this  prevented  our  taking 
any  mark  more  than  fifty  or  a  hundred  yards  a-head,  we  had  to  place  the 
compass,  by  which  we  were  now  entirely  travelling,  upon  the  ground  every 
five  minutes ;  and  as  it  traversed  with  great  sluggishness,  we  made  a 
very  crooked  and  uncertain  course.  For  more  than  two  hours  we  did  not 
pass  a  single  spot  of  uncovered  ground,  nor  even  a  stone  projecting  above 
the  snow. 

The  weather  being  at  length  too  foggy  to  proceed,  we  sat  down  on  our  Mon.  5. 
knapsacks  for  a  short  time,  and  then  continued  our  journey,  the  fog  being 
somewhat  less  thick.  At  one  A.M.,  we  came  to  a  few  large  stones  sticking 
up  above  the  snow,  and  as  the  people  were  a  good  deal  fatigued,  and  I  was 
at  the  same  time  desirous  not  to  run  the  risk  which  might  be  incurred  by 
suffering  them  to  lie  upon  the  snow,  we  determined  to  try  what  could  be 
done  in  picking  out  the  stones,  one  by  one,  and  paving  a  spot  for  the  tents 
over  it.  This  plan  succeeded,  and  after  an  hour's  work  we  completed  a  dry, 
though  hard  flooring  for  our  encampment.  This  being  properly  our  dinner- 
time for  the  4th  of  June,  though  our  meal  had  been  unavoidably  delayed 
beyond  that  day,  we  did  not  forget  to  drink  His  Majesty's  health  in  both 


188  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

tents,  not  aware  at  the  time  that  our  venerable  Monarch  had  many  months 
before  paid  the  debt  of  nature. 

The  fog  continued  too  thick  to  allow  us  to  move  till  six  A.M.,  at  which 
time  we  resumed  our  journey.  There  was  a  broad  and  distinct  haze-bow  of 
very  white  and  dazzling  light  directly  opposite  the  sun.  The  weather  being 
still  too  foggy  to  see  more  than  a  quarter  of  a  mile  a-head,  it  was  with  con- 
siderable difficulty  that  we  could  proceed  on  a  tolerably  straight  course.  To 
effect  this,  it  was  necessary  to  determine  the  point  on  which  we  were  walking 
by  the  bearing  of  the  sun,  which  was  still  visible,  and  the  apparent  time,  and  then 
to  take  a  mark  a-head  by  which  our  course  was  to  be  directed.  From  the  thick- 
ness of  the  weather,  however,  it  was  necessary  to  repeat  this  operation  every  five 
or  ten  minutes,  which,  together  with  the  uniform  whiteness  and  intense  glare  of 
the  snow,  became  so  extremely  painful  to  the  eyes,  that  Mr.  Fisher  and  myself, 
who  went  a-head  as  guides,  soon  became  affected  with  snow-blindness,  and 
the  headmost  man  at  the  cart,  whose  business  it  was  constantly  to  watch 
our  motions,  began  to  suffer  in  a  similar  manner,  and  from  the  same  cause. 
We  had  now  also  frequent  occasion  to  experience — what  had  so  often  occurred 
to  us  during  the  winter, — the  deception  occasioned  in  judging  of  the  magni- 
tudes, and  consequently  the  distances  of  objects,  by  seeing  them  over  an  un. 
varied  surface  of  snow  ;  this  deception  was  now  so  much  increased  by  the 
thickness  of  the  fog,  that  it  frequently  happened  that,  just  as  we  had  con- 
gratulated ourselves  on  having  pitched  upon  a  mark  at  a  sufficient  distance 
to  relieve  us  from  the  necessity  of  straining  our  eyes  for  a  quarter  of 
an  hour,  we  suddenly  came  up  to  it ;  and  were  obliged  to  search,  and  often 
in  vain,  for  another  mark,  at  no  great  distance,  and  subject  to  the  same 
delusion. 

It  may,  perhaps,  be  conceived,  then,  under  these  circumstances,  how 
pleasing  Avas  the  relief  afforded  by  our  seeing,  at  eight  A.M.,  a  stripe  of 
black  or  uncovered  land  a-head,  which  proved  to  be  the  bank  of  a  ravine 
fifty  or  sixty  feet  deep,  and  three  hundred  yards  wide,  on  the  north  side  of 
which  we  pitched  the  tents,  having  made  good  only  one  mile  and  a  half, 
the  snow  being  so  soft  and  deep  as  to  make  it  difficult  to  drag  the  cart  through 
it.  This  ravine  was  full  of  innumerable  masses  of  sand-stone,  besides  which 
we  could  not  find  a  single  mineral  substance  of  any  other  kind.  By  removing 
any  of  these,  we  found  abundance  of  pure  water,  which  tempted  us  to  take 
this  opportunity  of  cooking  the  grouse  we  had  killed,  on  which  we  made  a 
most  sumptuous  meal  before  we  retired  to  rest. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  189 

The  latitude  observed  here  was  75°  22'  43",  and  the  longitude,  by  the  IS'20. 
chronometer,  111°  14'  26",  in  which  situation  a  cylinder  of  tin,  containing  an  ^^ 
account  of  our  visit,  was  deposited  under  a  pile  of  stones  eight  feet  high, 
and  seven  feet  broad  at  the  base.  At  half-past  five  P.M.,  we  continued  our 
march  in  a  north-easterly  direction,  the  wind  being  moderate  from  the  S.S.E., 
with  fine  weather.  Another  of  our  party  complained  of  snow-blindness, 
which  always  continued  to  be  very  painful  during  the  time  we  were  walking, 
but  was  generally  relieved  by  the  usual  cool  bathing  and  a  few  hours'  rest. 
Our  people  were  all  supplied  with  crape  veils,  which,  I  believe,  saved  us  a 
good  deal  of  uneasiness  from  this  complaint. 

On  leaving  the  ravine,  where  we  had  last  halted,  we  had  entered  on 
another  snowy  plain  similar  to  those  I  have  before  described ;  and,  after 
travelling  several  miles  over  it  without  a  single  object  to  produce  variety,  or 
to  excite  interest,  came  at  length  to  a  rising  ground  at  half-past  eleven,  from 
which  we  descried  some  dark-coloured  ground  to  the  north-eastward,  and 
shortly  after  some  higher  land  at  a  considerable  distance  beyond  it,  in  the 
same  direction.  The  intermediate  space  looked  like  a  sea  covered  with  ice, 
or  a  very  level  snowy  plain,  and  we  were  once  more  puzzled  to  know  which 
of  these  two  it  would  prove.  Having  reached  a  good  dry  spot  for  the  tents, 
with  plenty  of  water  in  the  neighbourhood,  we  halted  at  midnight,  having 
marched  seven  miles  and  a  half  in  a  N.  b.  E.  direction  by  account,  but  much 
more  easterly  by  subsequent  observations.  I  cannot  help  remarking  in  this 
place  how  extremely  liable  to  error  any  account  must  necessarily  be  of  the 
course  and  distance  made  good  during  even  a  single  day  on  a  journey  of  this 
nature.  We  had  long  been  in  the  habit  of  deducing  all  our  bearings  and 
courses  on  board  the  ships  astronomically,  that  is,  by  the  azimuth  of  the  sun 
and  the  apparent  time ;  and  when  I  set  out  on  this  journey  1  had  conceived 
that  this  habit  would  have  enabled  me  to  make  tolerably  certain  at  least  of 
the  direction  in  which  our  daily  journey  had  been  performed,  whenever 
the  sun  should  be  visible.  That  this  was  by  no  means  the  case,  though  every 
possible  attention  was  paid  to  it,  will  appear  clear  from  an  inspection  of  our 
track  upon  the  map,  which  is  laid  down  by  the  actual  observations  of  two 
separate  persons  from  day  to  day,  and  in  which  no  material  error  could  have 
occurred.  My  reason  for  dwelling  upon  this  circumstance  is  to  point  out  the 
extreme  liability  to  error  in  laying  down  by  account  the  position  of  any  point 
at  which  a  traveller  may  arrive  after  a  journey  of  several  hundred  miles.  This 
remark  I  cannot  but  consider  to  be  peculiarly  applicable  to  the  journey  of 


190  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

Hearne  from  the  Hudson's  Bay  settlements  to  the  shores  of  the  Polar  Sea,  on 
the  northern  coast  of  America,  in  many  hundred  miles  of  which,  and  particularly 
in  the  most  interesting  part,  not  a  single  observation  for  latitude  and  longi- 
tude, or  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle,  was  obtained,  whereby  his 
daily  estimate  could  be  corrected.  Should,  therefore,  the  geographical 
position  assigned  by  Hearne  to  the  Copper-mine  River  be  found  at  all  near 
the  truth,  more  especially  in  longitude,  it  will  prove  an  extraordinary  instance 
of  the  tendency  of  errors  to  correct  each  other  ;  such  as,  I  believe,  does  not 
often  occur,  when  the  distance  gone  over  is  so  considerable,  either  by  sea  or 
land. 
Tiies.  6.  The  wind  increased  to  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  S.S.E.  with  a  sharp  frost, 
making  it  very  cold  in  the  tents,  which  we  therefore  struck  at  four  A.M.,  and 
at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile  came  to  the  summit  of  a  hill  overlooking  what 
appeared  to  be  a  frozen  sea  before  us.  The  distant  high  land  beyond  it  to 
the  north-east,  now  appeared  a  separate  island,  which  it  afterwards  proved 
to  be,  and  Avhich  I  named  after  my  friend  and  fellow-traveller,  Captain 
Edward  Sabine,  of  the  Royal  Artillery.  The  brow  of  this  hill,  which,  from 
the  best  estimate  I  could  form,  appeared  to  be  from  four  to  five  hundred  feet 
above  the  level  of  the  sea,  was  covered  with  large  masses  of  sandstone,  over 
which  we  could  scarcely  get  the  wheels  of  the  cart.  We  then  descended  the 
hill,  with  the  intention  of  pushing  forward  to  detennine  whether  the  white 
and  level  space  before  us  was  the  sea  or  not.  We  had  not  proceeded  far, 
however,  when  the  clouds  began  to  gather  heavily  in  the  south-east,  and 
shortly  after  snow  and  sleet  began  to  fall.  Being  unwilling,  therefore, 
to  allow  the  men's  clothes  to  be  wet,  when  there  was  no  absolute  occasion 
for  it,  we  halted  on  a  piece  of  dry  ground,  and,  having  built  a  wall  six  feet 
high  to  shelter  us  from  the  weather,  pitched  the  tents  very  comfortably  under 
the  lee  of  it,  till  the  weather  should  allow  us  to  proceed. 

We  here  saw  one  or  two  flocks  of  geese,  which,  to  judge  from  those  which 
we  afterwards  killed,  were  probably  brent-geese  fAnas  BerniclaJ,  and  were 
the  first  living  animals  we  had  met  with  for  two  or  three  days.  We -had  oc- 
casionally, during  that  time,  seen  upon  the  snow  the  tracks  of  a  solitary  deer, 
but  even  these  seemed  now  to  have  deserted  a  place  so  totally  devoid  of 
vegetation,  that  for  miles  together  we  scarcely  met  with  a  tuft  of  moss  or  a 
single  poppy  on  which  they  could  have  fed.  The  tracks  of  foxes  and  mice 
were  also  occasionally  seen,  but  we  did  not  meet  with  any  of  these  animals 
in  this  dreary  and  uninteresting  part  of  our  journey. 


t 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  191 

At  six  P.M.,  the  wind  having  gradually  got  round  to  the  N.N.E.,  and  the  wea-  i8'i(J. 
ther  being  more  clear  and  cold,  I  set  out,  accompanied  by  Messrs.  Nias  and  ^^^^ 
Reid,  and  a  quarter-master  of  the  Griper,  with  the  intention  of  examining  the 
situation  and  appearance  of  the  sea  to  the  northward  ;  leaving  the  rest  of  the 
party,  several  of  whom  were  suffering  from  snow-blindness,  though  otherwise 
in  good  health,  to  remain  quietly  in  the  tents  till  our  return.  Having  tra- 
velled N.N.W.  a  mile  and  a  half  through  much  deep  snow,  of  which  a  good 
deal  had  fallen  during  the  day,  we  came  to  some  ice  thrown  up  on  the  beach, 
having  cracks  in  it  parallel  to  the  line  of  the  shore,  which  we  immediately 
recognised  to  be  of  the  same  kind  as  those  to  which  we  had  so  long  been 
accustomed  in  Winter  Harbour,  and  which  are  occasioned  by  the  rise  and  fall 
of  the  tide.  Such,  however,  was  the  sameness  in  the  appearance  of  the  sea 
and  of  the  low  shelving  shore  interposed  for  two  or  three  miles  between  it 
and  the  hill  we  had  descended  in  the  morning,  that,  had  it  not  been  for  the 
circumstance  I  have  just  mentioned,  we  should  still  have  been  in  great  doubt 
respecting  the  nature  of  the  level  space  to  the  northward.  The  place  where 
we  came  to  the  sea  happened  to  be  near  the  outlet  of  a  ravine,  and  the  upper 
surface  of  the  ice  was  here  covered  with  pools  of  fresh  water,  which  had 
probably  been  formed  by  the  streams  from  the  ravine,  and  which  at  a  little 
distance  appeared,  as  usual,  of  a  beautiful  blue  colour.  We  turned  to  the 
westward  along  the  beach,  and  at  the  distance  of  two  miles  ascended  a  point 
of  land  in  that  direction,  from  whence  we  had  a  commanding  view  of  the 
objects  around  us.  As  soon  as  we  had  gained  the  summit  of  this  point,  which 
is  about  eighty  feet  above  the  sea,  and  was  named  after  Mr.  Nias,  we  had  an 
additional  confirmation  that  it  was  the  sea  which  we  had  now  reached,  the 
ice  being  thrown  up  on  the  beach  under  the  point,  and  as  far  as  we  could 
see  to  the  westward,  in  large  high  irregular  masses,  exactly  similar  to  those 
which  had  so  often  afforded  us  anchorage  and  shelter  upon  the  southern 
shores  of  the  island.  Being  desirous,  however,  of  leaving  nothing  uncertain 
respecting  it,  we  walked  out  a  few  hundred  yards  upon  the  ice,  and  began 
with  a  boarding-pike  and  our  knives,  which  were  all  the  tools  we  had,  to 
dig  a  hole  in  it,  in  order  to  taste  the  water  beneath.  After  nearly  two 
hours'  labour,  however,  we  could  only  get  down  as  many  feet,  the  ice  being 
very  hard,  brittle,  and  transparent ;  more  so,  as  we  imagined,  than  salt- 
water ice  usually  is,  which  made  us  the  more  desirous  to  get  through  it.  I, 
therefore,  determined  to  return  to  our  people,  and  to  remove  our  encamp- 
ment to  Point  Nias,  for  the  purpose  of  completing  the  hole  through  the  ice 


l®2  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    with  all  our  hands,  while   we   were  obtaining  the  necessary  observations 

June.  1 

y^^ry^^  on  shore. 

Wed.  7.  On  our  return  to  the  tents,  we  dined,  and  rested  till  one  o'clock  on  the 
morning  of  the  7th,  when  we  set  out  for  the  Point,  at  which  we  did  not  arrive 
till  half-past  four,  the  snow  being  here  so  deep  as  to  make  the  cart  an 
improper,  and,  indeed,  almost  impracticable,  mode  of  conveying  our  bag- 
gage. It  froze  all  day  in  the  shade,  with  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  north,  and 
though  the  tents  were  pitched  under  the  lea  of  the  grounded  ice  upon  the 
beach,  we  found  it  extremely  cold ;  all  the  pools  of  water  were  frozen  hard 
during  the  night,  and  some  of  our  canteens  burst  from  the  same  cause.  The 
people  were  allowed  to  rest  after  their  supper  till  four  P.M.,  and  were  then 
set  to  work  upon  the  ice,  and  in  building  a  monument  on  the  top  of  the 
Point. 

The  latitude  observed  here  was  75°  34'  47",  the  longitude  110°  35  52",  and 
the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  135°  03'  55"  Easterly.  A  series  of  angles 
and  astronomical  bearings  was  here  obtained  for  the  survey  of  the  coast,  and 
for  detennining  the  position  of  Sabine  Island,  the  north-western  point  of 
.  which,  being  bluff  headland,  was,  by  Captain  Sabine's  desire,  named  after 
Colonel  Mudge,  of  the  Royal  Artillery,  one  of  the  Commissioners  of  Longi- 
tude. The  land  to  the  westward  of  Point  Nias,  sweeps  round  into  a  large 
bay,  terminating  to  the  north-westward,  in  a  bold  Cape  bearing  N.  43°  W., 
and  distant  from  six  to  eight  leagues,  which  I  named  after  Mr.  Fisher.  The 
easternmost  part  of  Melville  Island,  here  visible,  was  a  low  projecting  point 
bearing  S.  77°  E.,  and  distant  eight  or  nine  miles,  which  was  called  Point 
ReiDj  after  the  gentleman  of  that  name,  who  accompanied  us. 

A  continuous  line  of  very  large  hummocks  of  ice  extended  from  Point 
Nias,  about  two  miles  and  a  half  in  a  N.N.E.  direction  ;  they  were  the  kind 
of  hummocks  which  always  indicate  the  ice  having  met  with  resistance  by 
grounding ;  and  I  have  little  doubt  that  a  reef  is  clearly  marked  out  by 
them.  What  makes  this  more  probable  is,  that  in  the  whole  space  between 
Points  Nias  and  Reid,  the  ice  near  the  shore  seemed  never  to  have  been 
disturbed  by  any  pressure  upon  it,  being,  perhaps,  defended  by  the  reef  from 
the  floes  coming  in  from  the  north-west ;  while  the  whole  of  the  shore,  as  far 
as  I  could  see  with  a  glass,  to  the  westward  of  Point  Nias,  bore  evident  marks 
of  that  tremendous  pressure,  which  is  produced  by  fields  of  ice  when  set  in 
motion. 

The  floe  of  ice  proved  to  be  fourteen  feet  four  inches  in  thickness,  and  it 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  193 

was  ten  at  night  before  our  people  got  through  it,  so  as  to  admit  the  water ;  1820. 
it  then  flowed  up  within  fifteen  inches  of  the  upper  surface  of  the  ice,  by  vj^^ 
with  some  idea  may  be  formed  of  the  specific  gravity  of  the  latter.  The 
water  was  not  very  salt,  owing  probably  to  its  acquiring  a  degree  of  fresh- 
ness, in  forcing  itself  through  an  aperture  so  small  as  to  require  three 
quarters  of  an  hour  to  fill  up  the  hole  to  its  proper  level ;  a  small  quantity 
of  it,  however,  was  sufficient  to  convince  each  of  us,  that  it  was  the  sea  upon 
which  we  were  standing,  and  a  canteen  was  filled,  in  order  to  try  its  specific 
gravity  on  our  return  to  the  ships.  The  thickness  of  the  ice  on  this  coast, 
as  compared  with  that  in  Winter  Harbour,  the  former  being  double  that  of 
the  other,  may  at  first  sight  appear  to  be  an  indication  of  a  more  severe 
climate  on  this  than  on  the  southern  coast  of  Melville  Island  ;  but  this  cir- 
cumstance is  easily  accounted  for  by  observing,  that  the  ice  of  a  harbour 
is,  as  we  know  by  experience,  the  fomiation  of  a  single  winter  ;  whereas,  on 
an  open  and  exposed  beach,  like  that  of  Point  Nias,  the  last  year's,  or  sea- 
ice,  is  at  liberty  to  fix  itself  in  the  autumn,  forcing  up  the  masses  which 
we  see  aground  in  all  such  situations,  and  increasing,  in  the  course  of  the 
ensuing  winter,  to  the  thickness  which  we  here  found  it  to  be.  Had  we 
accidentally  come  to  any  bay  or  harbour,  secure  from  the  access  of  the  floes 
from  without,  and  of  the  same  depth  as  Winter  Harbour,  I  doubt  not  we 
should  have  found  the  ice  in  it  of  nearly  the  same  thickness. 

We  saw  nothing  living  in  this  spot,  except  a  flock  of  five  or  six  ducks, 
none  of  which  were  killed.  There  was  scarcely  any  thing,  except  a  little 
stunted  moss  and  some  lichens,  which  deserved  the  name  of  vegetation  ;  and 
the  only  exception  to  the  tiresome  monotony  of  sandstone  which  had  occurred 
for  many  days  past,  consisted  in  two  or  three  pieces  of  red  granite,  and 
of  red  and  white  feldspar,  which  several  hours'  search  enabled  us  to  find. 
Two  pieces  of  drift-wood  were  also  found  upon  the  beach,  from  ten  to 
twenty  feet  above  the  present  level  of  the  sea ;  they  were  both  pine,  one  of 
them  being  seven  feet  and  a  half  long,  and  three  inches  in  diameter,  and  the 
other  much  smaller.  They  were  both  partly  buried  in  the  sand,  and  the 
fibres  were  so  much  decayed  and  separated,  as  to  fall  to  pieces  upon  being 
taken  hold  of. 

We  dined  at  midnight;    and   at  half  past  one  A.M.,  on  the  8th,  struck Thurs. 8. 
the   tents,  and  drew  the   cart  to  the  higher  part  of  the  Point,  where  we  oc- 
cupied two  hours  in  completing  our  monument,  which  is  of  a  conical   form, 
twelve  feet  broad  at  the  base,  and  as  many  in  height.    Within  it  were  deposited 


194  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

a  tin  cylinder,  containing  an  account  of  the  party  who  had  left  it,  and  one 
or  two  silver  and  copper  English  coins.  This  monument  may  be  seen  at 
several  miles'  distance  from  the  sea  or  land  side ;  and,  as  great  pains  were 
taken  by  Mr.  Fisher  in  constructing  it,  it  may  probably  lasit  for  a  long  period 
of  years. 

Having  now  satisfactorily  determined  the  extent  of  Melville  Island  to  the 
northward  upon  this  meridian,  which  corresponds  very  nearly  with  that  of 
Winter  Harbour,  and  finished  all  the  requisite  observations,  I  proposed  pursu- 
ing our  journey  towards  the  Blue  Hills,  which  were  still  in  sight  at  the  distance 
of  several  leagues  to  the  westward ;  and  having  advanced  to  the  south-west  as 
long  as  circumstances  should  appear  to  make  it  interesting  or  practicable,  to 
return  by  a  circuitous  route  to  the  ships.  We  travelled  in  a  W.  |  S.  direction, 
in  order  to  keep  on  a  ridge  along  the  coast,  which  afforded  the  only  tolerable 
walking,  the  snow  being  very  deep  on  the  lower  parts  of  the  land.  We  had 
to-day  frequent  occasion  again  to  notice  a  strong  smell  produced  by  the 
wheels  of  the  cart  going  over  the  blocks  of  sandstone,  similar  to  that  of  fetid 
lime-stone  when  recently  fractured.  We  halted  at  half-past  seven  A.M.  on  a 
fine  sandy  ground,  which  gave  us  the  softest,  as  well  as  the  driest,  bed  which 
we  had  yet  experienced  on  our  journey,  and  which  was  situated  close  to  a  little 
hillock  of  earth  and  moss,  so  full  of  the  burrows  of  hares  as  to  resemble  a 
warren.  We  tried  to  smoke  them  out  by  burning  port-fire,  but  none  ap- 
peared ;  and  it  is  remarkable  that,  though  we  constantly  met  with  the  dung 
of  these  animals,  especially  in  this  place,  where  it  occurred  very  abundantly, 
we  never  saw  one  of  them  during  the  journey.  As  as  soon  we  had  halted, 
we  found  that  Mr.  Reid's  knapsack  had  dropped  off  the  cart ;  he  had,  there- 
fore, to  go  back  to  look  for  it,  and  did  not  return  till  eleven  o'clock,  being  so 
much  affected  by  snow-blindness  as  to  be  scarcely  able  to  see  his  way  to  the 
tents.  This  circumstance  was  sufficient  to  shew  the  advantage,  and  even  the 
necessity  of  travelling  entirely  by  night  under  these  circumstances,  the 
intense  glare  of  light  from  the  snow  during  the  day  inevitably  producing 
this  painful  irritation  in  the  eyes.  Our  present  station,  which  was  about  half- 
a-mile  distant  from  the  sea,  commanding  an  open  view  of  Sabine  Island  and 
Cape  Fisher,  and  the  weather  being  very  clear  for  observations,  a  short  base 
was  obtained  for  the  survey,  between  this  and  Point  Nias.  The  only  birds 
we  «aw  here  were  a  pair  of  ptarmigans,  which  wene  killed  by  Mr.  Fisher.! 
There  was  some  moss,  and  a  few  short  tufts  of  grass ;  and  we  found,  for  the 
first    time  this    season,  the  Saxifraga   Oppositifolia   coming,  out   in  flower. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  195 

remark   which  I  afterwards    found  to    occur  in  the  Hecla's  Meteorological 
Journal  at  Winter  Harbour  on  the  following  day. 

At  a  quarter  past  five  P.M.  we  resumed  our  journey  to  the  south-west,  and 
soon  after  crossed  a  snowy  plain  a  mile  and  a  quarter  in  breadth,  extending 
to  the  sea  to  the  north,  and  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach  to  the  south.  When 
we  had  travelled  five  miles,  we  began  to  ascend  considerably,  and  were  now 
entering  upon  the  Blue  Hills,  the  higher  parts  of  which,  however,  were  three 
or  four  leagues  distant  to  the  westward  of  us.  Having  travelled  S.W.  b.  W. 
seven  miles,  we  halted,  at  half-an-hour  before  midnight,  at  the  distance  of 
three  or  four  miles  from  the  sea,  the  weather  being  very  clear  and  fine,  with 
a  moderate  breeze  from  the  S.S.W.  During  the  last  march  we  passed 
over  much  uneven  ground,  of  which  a  great  deal  was  extremely  wet ; 
moss,  saxifrage,  and  short  tufts  of  grass  here  became  more  abundant,  and, 
interspersed  among  the  former,  some  sorrel  began  to  make  its  appear- 
ance. One  or  two  pieces  of  red  granite,  and  some  of  feldspar,  were  all  that 
occurred  in  this  way  to  repay  the  tedious  search  which  we  had  for  many  days 
been  making  to  discover  any  thing  but  sand-stone. 

Having  rested,  after  our  dinner,  till  half-past  two  A.M.,  we  set  out  again  Frid.  9. 
to  the  south-west,  making,  however,  a  very  crooked  course  on  account  of  the 
irregularity  of  the  ground.  Although  this  circumstance  made  the  travelling 
somewhat  more  laborious,  we  were  glad  to  be  among  the  hills,  being  heartily 
tired  of  the  sameness  which  the  snowy  plains  and  low  grounds  present.  In 
the  first  quarter  of  a  mile,  we  passed  the  first  running  stream  which  we  had 
seen  this  season,  and  this  was  but  a  small  one,  from  six  to  twelve  inches  deep. 
The  ground  as  well  as  the  pools  of  water  was  frozen  hard  during  the 
last  night,  but  thawed  during  the  day,  which  made  travelling  worse  and 
worse  as  the  sun  acquired  power.  We  passed  a  few  deers'  horns,  killed 
three  ptarmigans,  and  saw  a  pair  of  ducks.  The  plumage  of  the  cock-grouse 
was  still  quite  white,  except  near  the  tip  of  the  tail,  where  the  feathers  were 
of  a  fine  glossy  black ;  but  in  every  hen  which  we  had  lately  killed,  a  very 
perceptible  alteration  was  apparent,  even  from  day  to  day,  and  their  plumage 
had  now  nearly  assumed  that  speckled  colour  which,  from  its  resemblance  to 
that  of  the  ground,  is  so  admirably  adapted  to  preserve  them  from  being  seen 
at  the  season  of  their  incubation.  We  found  it  difficult  in  general  to  get  near 
the  hens,  which  were  very  wild  ;  but  the  male  birds  were  at  all  times  stupidly 
tame.  Serjeant  Martin,  who  was  well  acquainted  with  birds,  reported  having 
seen  a  pair  of  bank-swallows  (Hirundo  Riparia.J     We  halted  at  seven  A.M., 


196  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

having  made  only  three  or  four  miles,  and  found  abundance  of  water,  which 
allowed  us  the  comfort  of  washing  our  flannel  shirts  and  putting  on  clean 
ones.  From  this  time,  indeed,  we  had  rather  more  water  than  we  wanted, 
the  abundance  of  it  making  a  great  deal  of  swampy  ground,  through  which 
the  cart  was  dragged  with  great  difficulty.  The  latitude  observed  at  this 
station  was  75°  26'  43 ",  the  longitude  by  chronometer  being  111°  22'  41". 

We  pursued  our  journey  at  half-past  five  P.M.,  and  found  the  ground  ex- 
tremely wet  and  swampy,  which  made  the  walking  very  laborious  ;  but  we 
remarked  that  our  feet  always  came  to  the  frozen  ground  at  the  depth  of  eight 
or  ten  inches,  even  in  those  parts  which  were  the  most  soft.  At  the  distance 
of  two  miles  and  a  half,  we  came  to  a  ravine  of  which  the  principal  branch, 
being  not  less  than  a  quarter  of  a  mile  wide,  took  a  N.N.E.  and  S.S.W.  di- 
rection, and  had  a  considerable  stream  of  water  running  to  the  northward. 
Another  branch  from  the  S.E.,  which  we  crossed,  was  three  hundred  yards 
wide,  and  was  as  yet  quite  dry  at  the  bottom.  As  the  night  came  on,  the 
weather  became  overcast,  and  a  good  deal  of  snow  fell ;  from  which,  however, 
the  people  were  sheltered  by  the  sail  which  a  fresh  northerly  wind  once 
more  enabled  them  to  set  on  the  cart.  Two  other  ravines  occurred  within 
three  quarters  of  a  mile,  apparently  connected  with  the  large  one,  and  which 
it  required  our  utmost  exertion  to  cross,  the  water  being  higher  than  our  knees 
in  the  middle,  and  the  whole  of  the  sides  of  the  ravine  covered  with  deep 
and  soft  snow,  into  which  the  wheels  of  the  cart  sunk  nearly  to  the  axle,  so 
that  we  could  only  get  it  across  by  what  sailors  call  a  "  standing  pull."  The 
men  having  got  their  trowsers  wet,  we  continued  our  journey  till  half-past 
eleven,  to  give  them  a  chance  of  drying,  and  then  halted,  having  only  tra- 
velled four  miles  in  a  S.W.  direction.  We  met  with  abundance  of  sorrel  in 
some  parts  of  this  journey ;  its  leaves  were  as  yet  scarcely  the  size  of  a  six- 
pence, and  almost  entirely  red.  A  few  ptarmigans  and  a  couple  of  geese  were 
all  the  living  animals  seen,  but  we  passed  several  tracks  and  horns  of  deer. 
Sat.  10.  At  half-past  two  A.M.,  on  the  10th,  we  struck  the  tents,  and  proceeded  to 
the  S.W.,  the  wind  having  got  round  to  the  S.E.,  with  continued  snow.  At 
the  distance  of  two  miles  we  entered  upon  a  level  plain  three  miles  wide, 
which,  with  the  exception  of  a  patch  here  and  there,  was  entirely  covered 
with  snow.  The  uncovered  parts  of  this  plain  were  so  wet  as  to  be  almost 
impassable  for  the  cart ;  and  we  were  now  as  desirous  of  keeping  on  the  snow 
as,  at  the  beginning  of  our  journey  from  Winter  Harbour,  we  had  been 
anxious  to  avoid  it.     The  plain  terminated  by  a  ravine,  on  the  south  bank  of 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  197 

which,  finding  good  ground  for  the  tents,  and  plenty  of  water,  we  halted  at  1820. 
a  quarter-past  seven,  being  in  latitude  by  observation  75°  20'  Si",  the  longi-  Z^^ 
tude  by  account  111°  42'  15". 

The  weather  continued  hazy,  with  snow  occasionally,  but  our  clothes 
dried  in  the  sun  towards  noon ;  soon  after  which,  however,  the  snow 
became  more  thick  and  constant,  so  that  we  could  scarcely  see  a  hun- 
dred yards  around  the  tents.  We  waited  for  some  time  in  hope  of  the 
weather  clearing,  and  then,  at  a  quarter-past  five,  continued  our  journey ; 
as  we  were  under  the  necessity,  however,  of  directing  our  course  entirely 
by  compass,  which  is  here  a  very  uncertain  and  deceitful  guide,  we  made 
but  a  slow  and  tedious  progress.  The  wind  freshened  up  to  a  gale  from  the 
S.E.  soon  after  we  had  set  out,  which  made  it  impossible  for  us  any  longer 
to  pursue  our  journey,  and  we  began  to  look  out  for  a  spot  on  which  the 
tents  could  be  pitched,  so  as  to  aflbrd  us  a  dry  flooring,  if  not  shelter, 
during  the  gale.  Having  crossed  three  ravines  within  a  mile  and  a  quarter, 
we  at  length  came  to  a  very  deep  one,  which  was  nearly  perpendicular 
on  each  side,  with  the  snow  over-hanging  in  some  parts,  so  as  to  make 
it  dangerous  to  go  near  the  edge  of  the  bank.  We  were  at  length  for- 
tunate in  finding  a  narrow  sloping  ridge  of  snow,  leading  down  to  the 
bottom  of  the  ravine,  and  having  descended  this  with  some  difficulty,  we 
found  such  good  shelter  as  to  determine  me  to  halt  here  for  the  night,  which 
now  became  more  and  more  inclement.  The  bottom  of  the  ravine,  in  which 
there  was  not  much  water,  abounded  with  schistose  sandstone,  with  which  a 
dry  and  comfortable  flooring  was  soon  paved  for  the  tents,  taking  care  to 
pitch  them  at  a  sufficient  distance  from  the  north  bank  of  the  ravine,  under 
which  a  number  of  large  masses  of  snow  were  lying,  which  had  lately  fallen 
from  the  over-hanging  part  of  the  cliff*,  not  less  than  eighty  or  a  hundred  feet 
perpendicular  in  this  place. 

The  weather  continued  very  inclement  during  the  night,  but  we  were  so  Sun.  li. 
well  sheltered,  as  to  be  very  comfortable  in  the  tents,  which  answered  every 
purpose  for  which  they  were  intended,  and  without  which  no  warmth 
could  have  been  obtained  while  resting.  I  may  also  here  remark,  that  the 
mode  we  had  adopted  with  the  blankets,  of  making  them  into  bags,  ap- 
peared the  warmest,  and  in  every  respect  the  most  comfortable  as  well  as  con- 
venient which  could  have  been  devised.  The  wind  gradually  veered  to  the 
N.N.W.  in  the  morning,  and  the  weather  having  cleared  up  about  half-past 
four  we  struck  the  tents,  and  set  off  to  the  southward.     The  south  bank  of  the 


198  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  ravine  being  nearly  as  steep,  and  much  higher  than  the  other,  it  weis  with 
^'^^  considerable  labour  and  difficulty  that  we  were  able  to  get  the  cart  up  it, 
in  which,  however,  we  succeeded  by  six  o'clock,  when  we  found  that  we 
were  travelling  on  much  higher  ground  than  before,  overlooking  that  which 
we  had  left  the  preceding  evening.  Having  proceeded  four  miles  over  a  level 
country,  with  much  snow  upon  it,  we  suddenly  and  unexpectedly  came  in 
sight  of  the  sea,  or  a  lake,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  miles  before 
us,  just  appearing  between  two  high  and  steep  hills  which  terminated  a 
deep  and  broad  ravine.  In  a  short  time,  we  opened  out  an  island,  which 
was  soon  recognised  to  be  the  same  which  we  had  seen  to  the  eastward  of 
us,  on  our  journey  to  the  north,  and  which  we  now  found  to  be  situated  in 
this  lake  or  gulf.  We  hastened  forward  to  the  point  of  the  nearest  hill, 
from  whence  the  prospect  was  extremely  grand  and  picturesque.  We 
were  looking  down  nearly  perpendicular  from  a  height  of  eight  or  nine 
hundred  feet,  on  an  extensive  plain  of  ice,  of  which,  to  the  westward, 
we  could  perceive  no  termination  for  a  distance  of  five  or  six  leagues, 
the  prospect  to  the  eastward  being  obstructed  by  other  hills.  A  thick 
mist  or  vapour  was  at  times  carried  rapidly  along  by  the  wind  over  this 
ice,  to  which  it  was  entirely  confined,  occasionally  covering  the  top  of 
the  island  with  a  dense  cloud.  The  impression  made  upon  our  minds  at  the 
time  was,  that  it  was  a  frozen  lake  on  which  we  were  now  looking ;  but  this 
conjecture,  as  it  afterwards  appeared,  proved  erroneous.  The  ravine  at  which 
we  had  arrived  discharges  its  waters  into  a  snug  cove  two  or  three  miles  deep, 
which  was  named  after  Mr.  Bushnan,  and  at  the  head  of  which  we  now  pro- 
posed resting,  if  a  place  could  be  found  at  which  our  descent  into  the  ravine 
could  be  effected.  The  sides  of  the  ravine,  w^hich  were  very  steep,  were 
covered  with  innumerable  blocks  of  sandstone  of  every  size  and  shape,  over 
which  alone  any  road  could  be  found  to  the  cove  below.  It  was  necessary, 
therefore,  to  make  the  attempt,  but  it  was  impossible  for  the  best  built  carriage 
to  travel  long  on  such  a  road ;  and  when  we  had  half  descended  the  bank, 
which  led  into  the  rav^ine  on  its  north  side,  the  axle-tree  broke  short  in  the 
middle.  The  baggage  was  therefore  taken  ofl^,  and  carried  down  to  the 
bottom,  where  the  tents  were  pitched  at  eleven  A.M.,  the  wheels  being  left 
where  the  cart  broke  down,  as  sound  as  at  first. 

The  latitude  observed  here  was  75°  12'  50",  the  longitude,  by  chrono- 
meter, lir  50'  05",  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  125°  12'  22' 
Easterly.     The  wind  being  fresh  from  the  W.N.W.,  and  the  weather  being 


1 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  199 

cold  and  raw,  we  built  a  wall  to  windward  of  the  tents,  as  a  substitute  for  l^'^*^- 
the  usual  shelter  afforded  by  the  cart;  after  supper,  the  people  being  a  v-^-v^ 
good  deal  fatigued,  were  allowed  to  rest  till  near  midnight,  and  then  em- 
ployed in  arranging  the  baggage,  so  as  to  carry  it  on  our  shoulders  for  the 
rest  of  the  journey.  We  saw  here  a  great  number  of  brent-geese,  some 
ptarmigan,  and  many  snow-buntings ;  the  constant  and  cheerful  note  of  the 
latter  reminded  us  of  a  better  country.  The  wood  which  composed  the  light 
frame-work  of  the  cart  being  now  disposable  as  fuel,  we  were  glad  to  make 
use  of  it  in  cooking  a  few  ptarmigan,  which  afforded  us  another  sumptuous 
meal.  It  is  not,  perhaps,  easy  for  those  who  have  never  experienced  it,  to 
imagine  how  great  a  luxury  any  thing  warm  in  this  way  becomes,  after  living 
entirely  upon  cold  provisions  for  some  time  in  this  rigid  climate.  This 
change  was  occasionally  the  more  pleasant  to  us,  from  the  circumstance  of 
the  preserved  meats,  on  which  we  principally  lived,  being  generally  at  this 
time  hard  frozen,  when  taken  out  of  the  canisters. 

Having  finished  our  arrangements  with  respect  to  the  baggage,  which  Mon  1-2. 
made  it  necessary  that  each  of  the  men  should  carry  between  sixty  and 
seventy  pounds,  and  the  officers  from  forty  to  fifty ;  we  struck  the  tents  at 
half-past  two  on  the  morning  of  the  12th,  and  proceeded  along  the  eastern 
shore  of  the  Cove,  towards  a  point  which  forms  the  entrance  on  that  side. 
The  rocks  above  us,  which  here  approach  the  sea  within  fifty  yards,  were 
composed  of  sandstone  in  horizontal  strata ;  and,  in  many  parts  of  the  cliffs 
which  overlook  the  Cove,  their  appearance  resembled  more  the  ruins  of 
buildings  than  the  work  of  nature.  Large  fragments  of  stones  which  had 
fallen  from  above,  were  strewed  about  at  the  base  of  these  precipices, 
filling  up  nearly  the  whole  space  between  them  and  the  beach.  The  head 
of  Bushnan  Cove  is  one  of  the  pleasantest  and  most  habitable  spots  we 
had  yet  seen  in  the  Arctic  Regions,  the  vegetation  being  more  abundant 
and  forward  than  in  any  other  place,  and  the  situation  sheltered  and  favour- 
able for  game.  We  found  here  a  good  deal  of  moss,  grass,  dwarf-willow, 
and  saxifrage,  and  Captain  Sabine  met  with  a  ranunculus  in  full  flower. 

We  arrived  at  the  Point  at  five  o'clock,  and  as  we  could  now  perceive  that 
the  lake  or  gulf  extended  a  considerable  distance  to  the  eastward,  as  well 
as  to  the  westward,  and  that  it  would  require  a  long  time  to  go  round  in 
the  former  direction,  I  determined  to  cross  it  on  the  ice ;  and  as  the  distance 
to  the  opposite  shore  seemed  too  great  for  one  journey,  the  snow  being 
soft  upon  the  ice,  first  to  visit  the  island,  and  having  rested  there,  to  proceed 


260^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  to  the  southward.  Havins:  walked  five  miles  in  a  S.S.W.  direction,  we  landed 
at  seven  A.M.,  near  the  south-east  part  of  the  island,  which  I  named  after 
my  friend  Mr.  Hooper.  We  had  now  little  doubt  that  we  had  been  tra- 
velling over  a  gulf  of  the  sea,  as  we  had  not  seen  any  land  enclosing  it  to  the 
westward,  for  more  than  two  points  of  the  compass,  the  weather  being 
very  clear ;  but,  as  nothing  could  make  this  absolutely  certain  but  tasting 
the  salt-water,  I  had  just  signified  my  intention  of  occupying  the  rest  of  the 
day  in  digging  a  hole  through  the  ice  for  this  purpose,  when  one  of  the  party 
having  gone  to  a  pool  on  the  floe  for  some  water  to  drink,  found  it  to  be 
quite  salt,  and  thus  saved  us  any  further  trouble  or  doubt  respecting  it. 
The  wind  was  fresh  from  the  westward,  and  the  tents  were  pitched  near  the 
beach,  under  the  lee  of  the  high  part  of  the  island.  Captain  Sabine  and 
myself,  having  ascended  to  the  top,  which  is  on  the  east  side  from  five  to  six, 
and  on  the  west,  about  seven  hundred  feet  above  the  sea,  and  in  many 
parts  nearly  perpendicular,  we  had  a  commanding  view  of  this  fine 
gulf,  which  I  named  after  my  much-esteemed  friend  and  brother-officer. 
Lieutenant  Liddon.  The  entrance  of  the  gulf  to  the  westward  was  now 
very  apparent,  the  head-lands  which  appeared  to  terminate  its  north  and 
south  shores  being  distant  from  us  from  five  to  seven  leagues.  I  named 
them  after  Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner,  and  their  astronomical  bear- 
ings were  S.  86°  W.,  and  S.  65°  W.  respectively. 

The  north  shore  of  Liddon's  Gulf,  being  the  termination  of  the  Blue  Hills 
to  the  south-west,  is  high,  bold  and  precipitous  as  far  to  the  eastward  as 
Bushnan  Cove,  and  its  formation  appeared,  with  a  glass,  to  be  the  same  as  in 
that  neighbourhood;  beyond  this,  to  the  eastward,  the  land  becomes  low,; 
and  the  gulf  takes  a  bend  to  the  north-east.  In  this  direction  we  could  not 
distinguish  its  extent,  but  we  must  have  passed  at  no  great  distance  from  the 
head  of  it  on  the  4th.  A  bluff"  cape  on  this  shore,  which  is  seen  very 
conspicuously  on  a  clear  day  from  the  Table-hill  of  Winter  Harbour,  was 
named  after  Mr.  Edwards,  Tvho  had  been  the  first  among  us  to  conjecture 
from  its  appearance,  that  water  would  be  found  at  its  foot.  Immediately  to 
the  westward  of  Cape  Edwards  the  land  recedes,  forming  a  bay,  called 
Barry's  Bay,  of  which  our  situation  and  distance  did  not  allow  us  to 
spe  the  extent.  We  found  that  the  nearest  land  to  us  on  the  opposite 
shore  was  not  on  the  south  coast  of  the  gulf,  as  we  had  supposed,  but 
a  point  to  the  E.S.E.,  for  which  it  was,  therefore,  proposed  that  we 
should  next  cross    the  ice :    the   south  shoi-e    is  all   high   and  steep,   but 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  201 

much  less  so   than  the   north  ;  its  nearest  part  was  seven  or  eight  miles     1 820. 
distant.  ^^ 

Hooper's  Island  is  principally  composed  of  the  same  stratified  sand-stone  as 
the  adjacent  shores  ;  on  the  top  of  the  island,  however,  we  also  found  a  great 
deal  of  clay  iron-stone,  varying  in  colour  from  fine  chocolate  to  dark  blue, 
some  of  which  was  remarkably  compact  and  heavy  ;  and  several  lumps  of 
calcareous  spar,  or  crystallized  carbonate  of  lime,  were  picked  up  on  the 
beach.  We  met  with  little  or  no  vegetation,  a  few  stunted  tufts  of  moss 
being,  I  believe,  all  that  occurred  in  that  Avay.  There  were  a  great  many 
brent-geese  on  the  beach,  of  which  four  were  killed,  weighing  about  four 
pounds  each  when  shot,  and  two  pounds  when  ready  for  dressing.  We  saw 
also  several  grouse,  a  great  many  snow-buntings,  whose  lively  note  still 
saluted  us  wherever  we  Avent,  a  raven,  and  an  ivory  gull.  The  latitude,  ob- 
served at  the  tents,  was  75°  05' 18",  the  longitude,  by  chronometer  111°  56' 58", 
and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  123°  47'  58"  easterly. 

We  rested  till  six  P.M.,  and  then  set  ofi^"  across  the  ice  for  the  point.  The 
snow  had  now  become  so  soft  after  the  heat  of  the  day,  that,  loaded  as  we 
were,  we  often  sunk  nearly  up  to  the  knees,  which  made  travelling  very 
laborious,  and  we  were,  therefore,  not  sorry  to  get  on  shore  by  half-past  eight, 
having  walked,  by  our  account,  three  miles  and  a  half.  On  landing  we  saw 
two  deer,  but  they  were  too  shy  to  allow  our  sportsmen  to  come  near  them. 
We  directed  our  course  to  the  south-east,  along  a  narrow  ridge  of  land  inter- 
posed between  the  sea  and  a  lagoon,  which  now  made  its  appearance  at  the 
back,  and  which  is  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile  long  in  a  north-east  direction, 
and  a  quarter  of  a  mile  Avide.  It  communicates  with  the  gulf  by  a  narrow 
opening,  only  forty  or  fifty  yards  across,  which,  as  well  as  the  lagoon,  was 
still  completely  frozen  over.  In  this  neighbourhood  we  picked  up  the  root 
and  three  feet  of  the  trunk  of  a  small  pine-tree,  about  fifteen  feet  above  the 
present  level  of  the  sea.  We  passed  also  a  part  of  the  skeleton  of  a  musk-ox, 
frozen  hard  into  the  ground.  The  soil  here  became  very  rich,  and  abounded 
with  the  finest  moss,  together  with  a  great  deal  of  grass,  saxifrage  and  poppy; 
and  the  quantity  of  dung  Avhich  covered  the  ground  shewed  it  to  be  a  feeding- 
place  for  the  deer,  musk-oxen,  and  hares:  the  tracts  of  the  former  were 
numerous  and  recent.  We  halted  at  half-past  eleven.  Hooper's  Island  being 
distant  from  us  five  miles  and  a  half  in  a  W.  b.  N.  direction.  The  night  Avas 
remarkably  clear  and  fine,  with  a  light  wind  from  the  westAvard. 

The  spot  on   which  we   encamped  appeared  so  favourable  for  obtaining 


3C^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  specimens  of  the  different  animals  which  frequent  this  island,  that  I  deter- 
vj!l^i^  mined  to  remain  here  one  day  for  the  purpose  of  sporting  and  examining 
its  natural  productions.  The  latitude  observed  at  the  tent  was  75°  02'  37", 
the  longitude,  by  the  chronometer,  111°  rS7'  10",  and  the  variation  126°  01' 48" 
easterly  ;  from  this  station  astronomical  bearings  were  obtained  for  the  survey 
of  the  gulf. 
Tues.  13.  The  sportsmen  went  oat  early  in  the  morning,  and  soon  after  met  with  a 
musk-ox  feeding  on  a  spot  of  luxuriant  pasture-ground,  covered  with  the  dung 
of  these  animals,  as  well  as  of  deer.  They  fired  at  him  from  a  considerable 
distance,  without  wounding  him,  and  he  set  off  at  a  very  quick  pace  over 
the  hills.  The  musk-ox  has  the  appearance  of  a  very  ill-proportioned  little 
animal,  its  hair  being  so  long  as  to  make  its  feet  appeal*  only  two  or  three 
inches  in  length ;  they  seem,  indeed,  to  be  treading  upon  it  at  every  step,  and 
the  individual  in  question  actually  did  so  in  some  instances,  as  the  hair  was 
found  in  several  of  the  foot-tracts.  When  disturbed  and  hunted,  they  frequently 
tore  up  the  ground  with  their  horns,  and  turned  round  occasionally  to  look  at 
their  pursuers,  but  they  never  attempted  to  attack  any  of  them.  Our 
gentlemen  also  met  with  a  herd  of  twelve  deer,  three  only  of  which  had 
horns,  and  they  were  much  the  largest  of  the  herd,  and  constantly  drove 
the  others  away  when  they  attempted  to  stop.  The  birds  seen  by  our  people 
were  many  brent-geese  and  ptarmigans,  several  golden  plovers,  one  or  two 
"  boatswains"  (Lestris  Parasiticus),  and  abundance  of  snow-buntings.  One 
or  two  mice  (Mus  Hudsonius)  were  caught ;  like  several  others  we  had  seen, 
these  were  turning  brown  about  the  belly  and  head,  and  the  back  was  of  a 
dark  grey  colour.  In  every  part  of  the  island  over  which  we  travelled,  the 
holes  and  tracts  of  these  lirtle  animals  were  occasionally  seen ;  one  of  them 
which  Serjeant  Martin  ran  after,  finding  no  hole  near,  and  that  he  could  not 
escape,  set  himself  against  a  stone,  as  if  endeavouring  to  defend  himself, 
and  bit  the  Serjeant's  finger  when  he  took  hold  of  him. 

On  a  point  of  land  at  the  distance  of  three-quarters  of  a  mile  to  the  W.b.S. 
of  the  tents,  and  within  a  hundred  yards  of  the  sea,  the  remains  of  six 
Esquimaux  huts  were  discovered ;  they  consisted  of  rude  circles,  about  six 
feet  in  diameter,  constructed  irregularly  of  stones  of  all  sizes  and  shapes, 
and  raised  to  the  height  of  two  feet  from  the  ground  ;  they  were  paved  with 
large  slabs  of  white  schistose  sandstone,  which  is  here  abundant ;  the  moss 
had  spread  over  this  floor»  and  appeared  to  be  the  growth  of  three  or 
four  years.      In  each  of  t|he  hats,  on.  one  side,  was  a  small  separate  com- 


i 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  208 

partment  forming  a  recess,  projecting  outwards,  which  had  probably  been  1820. 
their  store-room  ;  and  at  a  few  feet  distant  from  one  of  the  huts  was  a  ^^J^ 
smaller  circle  of  stones,  which  had  composed  the  fire-place,  the  mark  of 
fire  being  still  perceptible  upon  them.  The  huts  which  we  had  seen  upon 
Byam  Martin  Island,  as  well  as  those  which  we  had  visited  on  the  coast  of 
Greenland  in  1818,  had  each  one  of  these  small  circles  attached  to  them  ;  there 
was  also  a  separate  pile  of  stones  at  a  little  distance  from  the  huts,  on  which 
the  ptarmigan  had  lately  taken  up  their  abode,  and  which  was  probably 
another  fire-place.  If  the  Esquimaux  derive  any  part  of  their  subsistence 
from  the  land,  and  are  under  the  necessity  of  coming  to  this  high  latitude  in 
quest  of  it,  they  will,  perhaps,  no  where  find  better  fare  for  a  month  or  six 
weeks  than  in  this  neighbourhood,  for  I  have  no  doubt  that,  in  the  months  of 
July  and  August,  the  game  is  here  in  great  plenty.  It  is  scarcely  possible, 
however,  upon  the  whole,  that  these  people  could  long  subsist  on  any  part  of 
Melville  Island,  the  summer  season  being  much  too  short  to  allow  them  to  lay  in 
a  sufficient  stock  of  provisions  for  a  long  and  severe  winter.  It  was  remarked 
by  Captain  Sabine  and  Mr.  Fisher,  who  had  both  landed  on  Byam  Martin 
Island,  that  the  huts  we  had  now  discovered  appeared  to  be  more  recently 
deserted  than  the  others. 

The  day  was  fine  and  clear,  with  a  moderate  wind  from  the  westward  till 
four  P.M.,  when  it  died  away,  and  was  shortly  after  succeeded  by  a  breeze 
from  the  southward,  with  a  fall  of  snow.  When  we  were  setting  oif  to  the 
southward,  a  herd  of  five  deer  came  towards  the  tents,  but  we  did  not 
succeed  in  killing  any  of  them.  We  now  travelled  due  south  with  the  inten- 
tion of  getting  sight  of  the  Table-hills,  and  returning  by  that  route  to  the 
ships,  as  there  appeared  to  be  nothing  more  within  our  reach  of  sufficient 
interest  to  detain  us  any  longer  from  them.  At  eight  P.M.,  finding  that  the 
people's  clothes  were  becoming  wet  through  by  the  sleet  which  fell,  we 
halted  and  pitched  the  tents,  the  wind  having  freshened  up  to  a  strong 
breeze  from  S.E.b.S.,  and  the  night  being  very  inclement.  There  was  here 
a  great  deal  of  clay  mixed  with  the  soil,  and  the  sandstone  began  to  be 
almost  entirely  of  a  greenish  colour. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  the  14tli,  the  wind  veered  to  the  westward,  and  Wed.  14. 
the   weather  became  gradually    more   clear ;    we   therefore    continued    our 
journey  to  the  southward,  and  having  passed  over  several   ridges  of  high 
ground  lying  across  our  track,  and  crossed  some  ravines  lying  in  a  N.E.  and 
S.W.  direction,  we  came  in  sight  of  the  Table-hills  bearing  S.E.  of  us,  and 


30^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  at  eight  A.M,  pitched  the  tents  on  some  dry  ground  on  the  bank  of  a  ravine. 
.,j^!^  Two  of  the  men  complained  of  disordered  bowels  during  the  last  march,  occa- 
sioned, as  they  supposed,  by  having  taken  too  copious  a  draught  of  very 
cold  water  at  setting  out  in  the  morning.  They  were  quite  relieved,  how- 
ever, by  a  few  hours'  rest,  and  our  snow-blindness  had  now  completely 
left  us.  The  snow-buntings,  the  only  birds  seen,  were  here  very  nu- 
merous, and  were  flying  about  our  tents  all  day  like  sparrows.  We 
moved  on  towards  the  Table-hills  at  five  P.M.,  and  crossed  several  ravines 
without  much  water  in  them,  running  generally  to  the  north-eastward,  and 
which  therefore,  probably,  empty  themselves  into  Liddon's  Gulf  As  the 
Table-hills  are  almost  entirely  composed  of  the  debris  of  limestone,  while  we 
had  hitherto  met  with  nothing  but  sandstone,  we  were  anxious  to  observe 
when  the  former  would  be  found  to  commence,  but  we  met  with  none  of  it 
till  within  a  few  hundred  yards  of  the  hills,  when  it  began  to  occur  in 
small  pieces  lying  on  the  surface,  with  a  little  granite  and  feldspar,  the 
soil  being  still  quite  sandy.  We  halted  between  the  Table-hills  at  ten  o'clock, 
having  travelled  eight  miles  over  very  swampy  ground,  and  with  the  snow  up 
to  our  knees  in  some  of  the  hollows.  We  met  with  no  living  animals  during 
this  part  of  the  journey,  and  it  may  be  remarked,  generally,  that  we  always 
found  the  game  of  every  kind  more  abundant  near  the  sea  than  inland, 
except  on  the  north  coast  of  Melville  Island,  which  is  too  barren  to  afford 
them  subsistence. 
Thiir.  15.  As  I  was  desirous  of  remaining  here  till  after  noon,  to  obtain  observations  for 
determining  the  situation  of  the  Table-hills,  the  easternmost  of  which  is  the 
most  conspicuous  object  on  this  part  of  the  coast,  as  well  as  a  mark  for  the 
anchorage  in  the  Bay  of  the  Heclaand  Griper,  the  people  were  employed  early 
in  the  morning  in  carrying  stones  to  the  top  of  it,  where  a  monument  ten  feet 
high,  and  the  same  in  breadth  at  its  base,  was  erected  by  Mr.  Fisher 
and  a  copper  cylinder,  containing  a  full  account  of  our  visit,  deposited 
within  it.  In  the  meantime.  Captain  /Sabine  and  myself  were  occupied  in 
obtaining  the  necessary  observations,  by  which  the  latitude  of  the  hill  was 
found  to  be  74°  48'  33',  its  longitude  111°  11'  49",  and  tire  variation  of  the 
magnetic  needle  123°  05°  30"  Easterly.  Having  before  given  some  account 
of  the  minerals  found  in  this  neighbourhood,  I  shall  only  add  on  this  subject, 
that,  among  the  mineralogical  specimens  now  added  to  our  collection,  was 
a  piece  of  fossil  wood,  found  at  the  foot  of  the  westernmost  of  the  two  hills, 
lying  loosely  and  separately  upon  the  sand.     It  may  be   imagined,   that 


i 


OF  A  I>fORTH-\VEST  PASSAGE.  205 

we  looked  anxiously  towards  the  sea  for  any  appearance  of  open  water  in  1820. 
the  offing,  but  nothing  of  this  kind  was  visible,  though  the  prospect  was  a  ^'^ 
commanding  one,  as  far  to  the  westward  as  a  S.S.W.  bearing. 

As  soon  as  the  observations  were  completed,  we  set  off  for  Winter  Harbour, 
and  having  passed  over  much  rich  and  wet  ground,  abounding  with  sorrel, 
which  now  began  to  put  forth  its  leaves  with  more  vigour,  arrived  on  board 
at  seven  P.M.,  having  been  met,  and  welcomed  most  heartily,  by  almost 
every  officer  and  man  belonging  to  the  ships ;  and  it  was  no  small  satis- 
faction to  me  to  hear  it  remarked,  that  the  whole  of  our  travelling  party 
appeared  in  more  robust  health  thap  when  we  left  them. 


VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


CHAPTER  IX. 

OCCURRENCES     AT    WINTER     HARBOUR     IN     THE     EARLY     PART     OF    JUNE 

GRADUAL  DISSOLUTION  OP  THE  ICE  UPON  THE  SEA,  AND  OP  THE  SNOW 
UPON  THE  LAND — HUNTING  PARTIES  SENT  OUT  TO  PROCURE  GAME — ■ 
DECEASE     AND     BURIAL     OF    WILLIAM     SCOTT — EQUIPMENT    OF    THE    SHIPS 

COMPLETED TEMPERATE     WEATHER      DURING     THE     MONTH     OF     JULY 

BREAKING  UP  OF  THE  ICE  NEAR  THE  SHIPS — MOVE  TO  THE  LOWER 
PART    OF     THE     HARBOUR — SEPARATION    OF    THE    ICE    AT    THE    ENTRANCE 

PREPARE     TO     SAIL— ABSTRACT     OF     OBSERVATIONS     MADE    IN    WINTER 

HARBOUR. 


Jung'  1  HAD  the  happiness  to  find,  on  my  return,  that  the  officers  and  men  in 
both  ships  continued  to  enjoy  the  same  good  health  as  before,  with  the 
exception  of  Scott,  who  was  still  the  only  man  in  the  Hecla's  sick-list, 
and  whose  complaint  seemed  such  as  to  baffle  every  attempt  that  had  been 
made  to  produce  an  amendment.  A  constant  disposition  to  fainting  and 
a  languid  sort  of  despondency  had  been,  for  some  time  past,  the  only 
symptoms  which  induced  Mr.  Edwards  to  continue  the  anti-scorbutic  treat- 
ment, and  this  it  Avas  sometimes  absolutely  necessary  to  discontinue  for  a 
day  or  two  together,  on  account  of  the  weak  state  of  his  bowels.  During 
my  absence  he  had  been  much  worse  than  before,  notwithstanding  the 
greatest  care  and  attention  paid  to  him,  but  he  was  now  once  more  better. 
He  had  lived  almost  entirely  on  the  ptarmigan  and  ducks,  of  which  a  suf- 
ficient quantity  had  been  procured  to  serve  the  sick  and  convalescent  in 
both  ships  abundantly,  and  none  had  at  this  time  been  issued  to  any  other 
officer  or  man  in  the  expedition. 

The  equipment  of  the  ships  had  gone  on  satisfactorily  during  my  absence,; 
the  Griper  being  nearly  ready  for  sea,  the  Hecla  not  quite  so  forward,  on  ac- 
count of  the  heavy  work  with  the  ballast,  of  which  sixty-five  tons  had  been 
brought  on  board  to  supply  the   deficiency  of  weight  in  her  holds.     Thei] 
survey  of  the  provisions,    fuel,  and  other  stores  was    completed,    and   the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  207 

quantity  and  condition  of  them,  with  the  exception  of  the  lemon-juice  and  isio. 
vinegar  before  mentioned,  were  found  to  be  satisfactory.  Indeed,  the  .^^^ 
whole  of  the  provision  was  ascertained  to  be  as  good  as  when  it  came  out 
of  store,  more  than  twelve  months  before,  except  a  small  quantity  of  bread 
and  of  sugar  on  the  outside  part  of  a  few  casks,  on  which  a  little  moisture 
appeared,  and  which  made  it  expedient  to  use  those  articles  first.  This 
excellent  state  of  our  provisions  must,  independently  of  the  antiseptic  pro- 
perties of  a  cold  climate,  which  is  unfavourable  to  the  process  of  putrefaction 
or  the  accumulation  of  vermin,  be  mainly  attributed  to  the  care  which  had 
been  taken  to  supply  us  with  every  article  of  the  best  quality,  and  to  pack  the 
whole  in  strong,  tight  casks,  which  were  at  once  impervious  to  water,  and 
less  liable  to  damage  by  accidents  in  the  hold.  With  respect  to  vermin,  I 
may  here  mention,  that  not  a  mouse,  or  rat,  or  maggot  of  any  kind,  ever 
appeared  on  board,  to  my  knowledge,  during  this  voyage. 

A  very  perceptible  change  had  taken  place  in  the  ice  of  the  harbour 
on  its  upper  surface,  it  being  covered  with  innumerable  pools  of  water, 
chiefly  brackish,  except  close  in-shore,  where  the  tides  had  lifted  the  ice 
considerably  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 

Previously  to  the  continuance  of  the  narrative  of  occurrences  subsequently 
to  my  return  from  the  land-journey,  it  may  be  proper  to  give  some  account 
of  the  observations  made  on  board  the  ships  by  Lieutenants  Liddon  and 
Beechey,  during  my  absence  from  Winter  Harbour. 

From  these  it  appears,  that  the  first  red  phalarope,  (Phalaropus  Platyrinchos),  Frid.'2. 
and  also  the  first  flock  of  snow-buntings  which  had  been  observed  at  Winter 
Harbour  this  season,  were  seen  on  the  2d  of  June.  It  is  perhaps  worthy  of 
remark  that,  from  eight  P.M.  on  the  1st,  till  midnight  on  the  2d,  being  an 
interval  of  twenty-eight  hours,  the  mercury  in  the  barometer  remained 
steadily  at  thirty  inches,  without  varying  a  single  hundredth.  The  weather 
was  cloudy,  and  the  wind  rather  variable,  though  moderate  from  the  north- 
ward and  westward  during  that  time,  and  two  or  three  fine  days  succeeded 
it,  though  with  some  appearance  occasionally  of  rain  or  snow. 

A  flock  of  twelve  king-ducks,  flying  to  the  north-east,  together  with  a  Sat.  3. 
single  raven  and  an  arctic  gull,  made  their  appearance  on  the  3d,  and  a 
golden  plover  was  also  killed,  and  a  few  others  seen  on  that  day.  The  ther- 
mometer rose  in  the  shade  from  29°  at  4  A.M.,  to  43°  at  noon,  which  is  one 
of  the  greatest  changes  that  was  experienced  in  the  course  of  one  day  at 
this  part  of  the  scale. 


208  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  On  the  4th,  Lieutenant  Liddon  caused  His  Majesty's  birth-day  to  be 
vj!^  commemorated  in  the  best  manner  that  the  situation  of  the  ships  Avould 
Sun.  4  permit,  by  hoisting  the  ensigns  and  pendants,  and  directing  full  allowance 
of  provisions  to  be  served  to  the  crews.  It  is  remarkable  that,  at  Winter 
Harbour,  the  weather  was  fine,  and  the  wind  moderate  from  the  S.S.W., 
during  the  4th,  while,  at  a  few  leagues'  distance  to  the  northward,  we 
experienced  a  heavy  gale  from  the  southward,  with  continued  snow  and  a 
Mon.  5.  heavy  drift.  On  the  5th,  the  officers  remarked  a  more  perceptible  thaw 
than  before,  both  on  shore  and  on  the  ice,  many  pools  of  water  having  appeared 
in  new  places  on  the  latter,  and  the  snow  disappearing  fast  from  the  land, 
though  no  streams  of  water  were  yet  seen  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Winter 
Harbour.  Flocks  of  ducks  and  geese  were  from  this  time  seen  almost  daily 
for  the  next  six  weeks,  except  immediately  about  the  ships,  from  which  the 
game  of  every  kind  was  scared  soon  after  their  arrival  from  the  southward. 
Wed.  7.  On  the  7th,  Lieutenant  Liddon  walked  over  the  ice  to  the  entrance  of  the 
harbour,  where  there  was  not  even  so  much  alteration  perceptible  as  about 
the  ships ;  indeed,  every  thing  remained  exactly  the  same,  to  all  appearance, 
as  in  the  middle  of  winter.  At  five  P.M.,  the  weather  being  hazy,  and  a 
light  shower  of  snow  falling,  a  strongly  prismatic  rainbow  appeared,  a 
phenomenon  of  rare  occurrence  in  these  regions ;  it  had,  I  believe,  nothing 
Fiid.  9.  about  it  different  from  those  observed  in  other  climates.  On  the  9th,  the 
first  seal  was  seen,  lying  upon  the  ice,  near  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  and 
having  a  hole  close  to  him,  as  usual ;  as  we  never  saw  more  than  one  of  these 
animals  here  at  a  time,  and  that  very  rarely,  it  was  common  for  us,  when- 
ever this  did  occur,  to  remark  that  the  seal  had  been  seen,  and  the  same 
mode  of  expression  was  as  nati^rally  and  more  justly  applied  to  the  bear  seen 
in  the  autumn  soon  after  our  arrival  here.  So  few,  indeed,  are  the  animals 
in  this  neighbourhood,  which  either  live  in  the  sea,  or  derive  their  subsist- 
ence from  it,  that  it  is  scarcely  possible  that  the  Esquimaux,  who  depend 
chiefly,  if  not  entirely,  upon  them  for  provision,  could  long  exist  on  the 
shores  of  Melville  Island.  About  this  time  several  mosquitoes  (Ciilex  Pipiens) 
were  caught,  but  they  were  never  of  the  least  annoyance  to  us,  as  is  the 
case  on  the  shores  of  Hudson's  Bay,  and  in  other  cold  countries ;  nor 
indeed,  did  I  hear  of  any  of  our  people  having  once  been  bit  by  them. 
The  buds  of  the  Saxifraga  Oppositifolia,  and  of  the  dwarf- willow,  were 
observed  to  be  opening  out  on  the  9th,  and  some  of  the  sorrel  to  be  in 
flower ;  a  plant  with  a  flower  of  a  lilac  colour,  having  a  very  sweet  smell. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  209 

and  which  we  supposed  to  be  a  Draba,  was  also  observed  to  be  pushing  out  1820. 
its  blossoms  about  this  time ;  but  none  of  these  plants  were  so  forward  as  \.*-^->L< 
the  saxifrage. 

On  the  11th,  another  instance  occurred  of  a  remarkable  difference  in 
the  weather  in  Winter  Harbour,  and  at  no  great  distance  to  the  northward  of 
it,  the  weather  being  described  in  the  Meteorological  Journals  of  the  ships, 
as  very  inclement,  with  a  gale  of  wind  from  the  westward,  while,  near 
Bushnan  Cove,  we  enjoyed  a  clear  and  moderate  day.  Some  hares  were 
seen,  for  the  first  time,  to  the  eastward  of  the  ships. 

Some  of  the  officers  returned  on  the  14th,  after  an  excursion  of  two  days  Wed.  14. 
to  the  eastward,  bringing  with  them  three  brent-geese,  six  brace  of  ptar- 
migan, and  a  golden  plover,  and  having  seen  several  hares.  Mr.  Beverly 
describes  the  soil  upon  the  hills  to  be  composed  of  clay,  and  the  large 
masses  of  sandstone  which  are  found  on  the  surface  as  much  impregnated 
with  iron.  The  first  rein-deer  were  seen  from  the  ships  this  day ;  and  it  was 
conjectured  by  the  officers,  from  the  situation  in  which  they  were  observed, 
and  from  their  setting  off  directly  to  the  northward,  that  they  had  just  landed 
upon  the  island. 

Being  desirous  of  procuring  as  much  game  as  possible  during  the  remainder  pi-ij  jg. 
of  the  time  we  might  be  destined  still  to  remain  in  our  present  inactive  state, 
and  finding  .that  the  short  daily  excursions  which  our  sportsmen  were  enabled 
to  make  in  the  usual  way,  did  not  take  them  to  a  sufficient  distance  from  the 
ships  for  this  purpose,  I  directed  a  party  of  officers  and  men  to  be  pre- 
pared from  each  ship,  under  Lieutenants  Beechey  and  Hoppner,  to  remain  a 
few  days  out,  at  the  distance  of  ten  or  twelve  miles  to  the  eastward  and 
westward  of  the  harbour,  and  to  send  in  their  game  whenever  any  should  be 
procured.  They  accordingly  left  the  ships  this  evening,  carrying  with  them 
tents,  blankets,  fuel,  and  the  same  allowance  of  provisions  as  was  issued  on 
board.  Lieutenant  Hoppner,  who  commanded  the  party  which  went  to  the 
south-west,  was  directed  carefully  to  watch  the  ice,  that  any  appearance  of 
its  breaking  up  might  immediately  be  made  known  to  me.  Captain  Sabine 
and  his  men  were  indefatigably  employed  during  the  day  in  pitching  a 
laboratory-tent,  having  a  marquee  within  it,  for  the  reception  of  the  clocks, 
it  being  his  wish,  now  that  the  weather  was  more  favourable  for  the  purpose, 
to  occupy  the  whole  of  the  time  which  might  elapse  previously  to  the  sailing 
of  the  Expedition,  in  making  a  fresh  series  of  observations  for  the  pendulums. 
At  half  an  hour  before  midnight,  a  triple  rainbow  appeared,  the  outer  arch 


310  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  being  quite  complete,  and  strongly  tinged  with  the  prismatic  colours ;  the  second 
v.^vO  nearly  perfect ;  and  the  inner  one  being  only  perceptible  near  its  eastern  leg. 
Sat.  17.  A  fog  in  the  early  part  of  the  morning,  being  dispersed  by  the  warmth 
of  the  sun,  the  weather  became  fine  and  pleasant.  Having  observed 
that  the  sorrel  was  now  so  far  advanced  in  foliage  as  to  be  easily 
gathered  in  sufficient  quantity  for  eating,  I  gave  orders  that  two  after- 
noons in  each  week  should  be  occupied  by  all  hands  in  collecting  the 
leaves  of  this  plant ;  each  man  being  required  to  bring  in,  for  the  present, 
one  ounce,  to  be  served  in  lieu  of  the  lemon-juice,  pickles,  and  dried  herbs 
which  had  been  hitherto  issued.  The  growth  of  the  sorrel  was  from  this 
time  so  quick,  and  the  quantity  of  it  so  great  on  every  part  of  the  ground 
about  the  harbour,  that  we  shortly  after  sent  the  men  out  every  afternoon  for 
an  hour  or  two  ;  in  which  time,  besides  the  advantage  of  a  healthy  walk,  they 
could  without  difficulty  pick  nearly  a  pound  each,  of  this  valuable  antiscor- 
butic, of  which  they  were  all  extremely  fond.  A  part  of  the  leaves  thus 
daily  collected  was  served  to  the  messes,  both  of  officers  and  men,  and 
eaten  in  various  ways,  such  as  pickles,  salad,  in  puddings,  or  boiled  as  greens ; 
in  all  of  which  modes  it  was  constantly  and  abundantly  used  till  we 
sailed  from  Winter  Harbour,  and  for  three  weeks  after,  whenever  an  oppor- 
tunity offered  of  sending  on  shore  to  procure  it.  Of  the  good  effects  pro- 
duced upon  our  health  by  the  unlimited  use  of  fresh  vegetable  substances, 
thus  bountifully  supplied  by  the  hand  of  nature,  even  where  least  to  be  ex- 
pected, little  doubt  can  be  entertained,  as  it  is  well  known  to  be  a  never- 
failing  specific  for  scorbutic  affections,  to  which  all  persons  deprived  of  it 
for  a  length  of  time  are  probably  more  or  less  pre-disposed.  It  is  reasonable, 
therefore,  to  attribute  in  a  great  degree  to  the  use  of  the  sorrel,  the  efficient 
state  of  our  crews  at  the  time  of  our  re-commencing  our  operations  at  sea. 
We  found  also  a  few  roots  of  scurvy-grass  (Cochlearia  Fenestrata),  but  they 
were  too  rare  and  the  leaves  too  small  to  be  of  any  service  to  us. 

Mr,  Wakeham,  with  a  party  from  the  S.W.,  returned  in  the  evening  from  a 
shooting  excursion,  having  killed  the  first  deer  that  we  had  procured  this 
season,  which  gave  us  sixty  pounds  of  meat.  A  second,  sent  in  by  Lieutenant 
Beechey  on  the  19th,  weighed  only  fifty-two  pounds,  when  cleaned,  though 
not  of  a  very  small  size  ;  but  these  animals  are  extremely  lean  on  their  first 
arrival  from  the  south,  and  appear  to  improve  in  this  respect  very  rapidly  by 
.the  good  feeding  they  find  upon  this  island. 
k^jBy  the  20th  of  June  the  land,  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of  the  ships. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  211 

and  especially  in  low  and  sheltered  situations,  was  much  covered  with  the  1820. 
handsome  purple  flower  of  the  Saxifraga  Oppositifolia,  which  was  at  this  time  JllJ^ 
in  'great  perfection,  and  gave  something  like  cheerfulness  and  animation 
to  a  scene  hitherto  indescribably  dreary  in  its  appearance.  The  poppy 
(Papaver  Nudicaiile)  and  some  other  plants,  which  will  be  described  here- 
after, and  most  of  which  appeared  in  flower  during  the  month  of  July, 
afforded  us  a  degree  of  enjoyment  that  made  us  for  awhile  forget  the  rigour  of 
this  severe  climate. 

The  wind  increased  to  a  fresh  gale  from  the  north  on  the  night  of  the  20th,  Wed.21. 
and  continued  to  do  so  during  the  following  day  ;  so  that  Captain  Sabine 
had  great  difficulty  in  keeping  his  tents  secure,  and  in  spite  of  every  exertion 
the  canvass  came  in  upon  one  of  them,  and  put  it  out  of  its  place.  The 
ravines,  which  had  no  water  in  them  a  week  before,  were  now  discharging 
such  deep  and  rapid  torrents  into  the  sea,  as  to  render  them  quite  impassable. 
The  suddenness  with  which  the  changes  take  place  during  the  short  season, 
which  may  be  called  summer  in  this  climate,  must  appear  very  striking  when 
it  is  remembered  that,  for  a  part  of  the  first  week  in  June,  we  were  under  the 
necessity  of  thawing  artificially  the  snow,  which  we  made  use  of  for  water 
during  the  early  part  of  our  journey  to  the  northward  ;  that,  during  the  second 
week,  the  ground  was  in  most  parts  so  wet  and  swampy  that  we  could  with 
difficulty  travel  ;  and  that,  had  we  not  returned  before  the  end  of  the  third 
week,  we  should  probably  have  been  prevented  doing  so  for  some  time,  by 
the  impossibility  of  crossing  the  ravines  without  great  danger  of  being  carried 
away  by  the  torrents,  an  accident  that  happened  to  our  hunting  parties  on 
one  or  two  occasions,  in  endeavouring  to  return  with  their  game  to  the 
ships.  Lieutenant  Hoppner  sent  in  another  deer,  being  the  largest  of  a  herd 
of  fifteen,  notwithstanding  which,  it  only  furnished  us  with  seventy-eight 
pounds  of  venison.  Lieutenant  Hoppner  reported  that  the  pools  upon  the 
upper  surface  of  the  ice  to  the  south-west  were  rapidly  increasing  in  size  and 
number,  but  that  no  indication  of  its  breaking  up  had  yet  appeared. 

On  the  22d,  at  four  P.M.,  a  thermometer,  in  the  shade  on  board  the  Hecla, 
stood  at  51°,  being  the  highest  temperature  we  had  yet  registered  this  season. 
A  swan  was  seen  by  Mr.  Scallon  on  a  pond  to  the  S.W.  ;  this  was,  I  believe, 
the  only  bird  of  the  kind  seen  during  our  stay  here,  except  a  dead  one  which 
was  picked  up  on  our  first  arrival. 

On  the  24th  we  had  frequent  showers  of  snow,  which  occur  in  this  climate 
more  or  less  at  all    times  of  the  year ;  at  this  season,   however,   when  the 


Sat.  24. 


213  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

earth  is  warm,  it  seldom  or  never   lies   on   the  ground  for  a  whole  day 
together. 

Captain  Sabine,  among  the  numerous  difficulties  he  had  to  overcome  in 
completing  his  series  of  observations  for  the  pendulum,  was  now  annoyed  by 
the  constant  thawing  and  sinking  of  the  ground,  though  much  pains  had  been 
taken  to  lay  a  solid  foundation  for  the  clocks  to  stand  upon ;  fortunately, 
however,  no  serious  inconvenience  arose  from  this  new  annoyance.  Lieutenant 
Beechey  and  his  people  procured  another  deer,  and  several  hares  and  birds, 
which,  added  to  the  game  already  received,  afforded  a  supply  sufficient 
to  substitute  for  three  days'  regular  allow^ance,  while  near  the  ships 
scarcely  a  single  bird  could  now  be  procured.  Not  doubting,  therefore, 
of  the  advantage  of  this  plan,  I  determined  to  continue  it  till  near  the 
time  of  our  sailing,  by  relieving  the  parties  after  a  certain  number  of 
days'  absence.  An  account  of  the  total  quantity  of  game  obtained  during 
our  long  stay  at  Melville  Island  will  be  given  hereafter.  The  men 
were,  in  general,  particularly  fond  of  these  excursions,  from  which  they 
invariably  returned  in  the  best  possible  health,  though  generally  a  little 
thinner  than  when  they  went  out.  As  a  matter  of  good  policy,  it  was  our 
custom  to  consider  the  heads  and  hearts  of  the  deer  as  the  lawful  perquisites 
of  those  who  killed  them,  which  regulation  served  to  increase  their  keenness 
in  hunting,  while  it  gave  the  people  thus  employed  rather  a  larger  share  of 
fresh  meat  than  those  who  remained  on  board. 
Mon.  26.  Lieutenant  Beechey,  on  his  return  from  the  eastward  at  midnight  on  the 
26th,  reported  that  the  ice  along  shore  in  that  direction  appeared  in  a  more 
forward  state  of  dissolution  than  near  Winter  Harbour,  there  being  almost 
water  enough  in  some  places  to  allow  a  boat  to  pass,  with  several  large  cracks 
in  the  ice  extending  from  the  land  some  distance  to  seaward.  The  deer  had 
now  become  much  more  wild  near  the  tents,  and  it  was  therefore  necessary 
to  shift  the  ground  a  little.  Lieutenant  Beechey  succeeded  in  killing  one  of 
these  animals,  by  lying  down  quietly,  and  imitating  the  voice  of  a  fa^v^li 
when  the  deer  immediately  came  up  to  him  within  gun-shot.  The  horns  of 
the  deer,  killed  at  this  season,  as  Mr.  Fisher  remarks,  were  "  covered  with  a 
soft  skin,  having  a  downy  pile  or  hair  upon  it ;  the  horns  themselves  were 
soft,  and  at  the  tips  flexible  and  easily  broken."  The  foxes,  of  which  they 
saw  several,  "  had  a  black  spot,  or  patch,  on  each  side  of  the  hind-quarters^  ^^y 
or  hams."  Lieutenant  Beechey  reported  also,  that  one  of  the  Hecla's  quarter-  !(j 
masters,  who  belonged  to  his  party,  had  met  with  the  crown-bone  of  a  whale 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  213" 

at  the  distance  of  a  mile  from  the  sea,  and  considerably  above  its  present  1820. 
level.  Another  was  subsequently  found  in  a  similar  situation,  more  than  a  ^,^^ 
mile  to  the  north  of  the  harbour,  and  nearly  buried  in  the  earth,  which  was 
hard  frozen  around  it.  Two  headlands,  to  the  eastward  of  the  ships,  near  the 
station  which  Lieutenant  Beechey  had  chosen  for  the  tents,  and  for  the  position 
of  which  he  had  obtained  angles  during  his  late  excursion,  were  named  after 
Messrs.  Halse  and  Wakeham. 

On  the  29th,  one  of  the  men,  in  returning  on  board,  from  the  daily  occu- Thur.  29. 
pation  of  gathering  sorrel,  found  in  a  hole  upon  the  ice  a  small  fish,  which 
appeared  to  be  of  the  whiting  species,  and  on  going  to  examine  the  place 
where  it  was  picked  up,  Mr.  Edwards  and  myself  found  two  others  exactly 
similar.  As  there  was  as  yet  no  communication  between  the  sea  and  the 
upper  surface  of  the  ice,  sufficiently  large  to  admit  these  fish,  it  became  a 
matter  of  question  in  what  manner  they  had  got  into  the  situation  in  which 
we  found  them.  It  appeared  most  likely  that  they  were  frozen  on  the  surface 
of  the  water  at  the  beginning  of  winter  when  the  frost  first  commenced,  and 
perhaps,  therefore,  had  been  floating  there  dead.  We  remarked  that  when- 
ever any  hard  substance  is  laid  upon  the  ice  in  small  quantities,  it  soon 
makes  a  deep  hole  for  itself,  by  the  heat  it  absorbs  and  radiates,  by  which 
the  ice  around  it  is  melted.  There  were  at  this  time  upon  the  ice  innume- 
rable holes  of  this  kind,  some  forming  small,  and  others  large  pools  of  water; 
and  in  every  one  of  these,  without  exception,  some  extraneous  substance, 
such  as  sea-weed,  sand,  and  not  unfrequently  a  number  of  small  putrid  . 
shrimps  were  found.  In  one  of  these  holes  the  fish  alluded  to  were  found. 
It  was  curious  to  see  how  directly  contrary  was  the  effect  produced  upon  the 
ice  by  a  quantity  of  straw  which  was  put  out  upon  it  in  the  early  part  of 
May,  and  which,  by  preventing  the  access  of  warmth,  had  now  become  raised 
above  the  general  surface  more  than  two  feet ;  affording  a  strong  practical 
example  of  the  principle  on  which  straw  is  made  use  of  in  ice-houses,  and 
what  was  at  that  time  of  more  importance  to  us,  a  proof  how  much  the  upper 
surface  of  the  ice  had  been  insensibly  wasted  by  dissolution. 

Lieutenant  Hoppner  returned,  on  the  evening  of  the  29th,  from  his  hunting 
excursion  to  the  south-west,  bringing  with  him  some  game,  and  what  was  to 
us  much  more  acceptable,  the  welcome  information  that  the  ice  had  been 
observed  in  motion  in  the  offing  on  the  22d.  This  circumstance  was  first 
observed  by  Messrs.  Skene  and  Fife,  who  were  of  Lieutenant  Hoppner's 
party,   and  who  were  awakened  by  a  loud  grinding  noise,  which,  as  they 


214  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


1820.    had  soon  the  satisfaction  to  find,  was  occasioned  by  the  heavy  field-ice  setting 
v,*-y-sl/  rapidly  to  the  eastward,  at  the  distance  of  five  miles  from  the  land,  and  ap- 
parently at  the  rate  of  a  mile  an  hour.    The  wind  was  at  this  time  moderate, 
but  on  the  preceding  day  it  had  blown  a  fresh  northerly  gale. 

Lieutenant  Hoppner  likewise  reported  that  he  had,  in  the  course  of  his 
late  excursion,  met  with  a  lake  between  four  and  five  miles  in  circumference, 
situated  at  the  distance  of  twelve  or  fourteen  miles  to  the  westward  of 
the  entrance  of  Winter  Harbour,  and  four  miles  from  the  sea.  This  lake  was 
still  frozen  over,  but,  from  the  nature  of  the  banks,  had  the  appearance  of 
being  deep ;  and  it  is,  probably,  the  same  which  Mr.  Fife  had  fallen  in  with, 
at  the  time  he  lost  his  way  in  September  1819,  and  of  the  situation  of  which 
he  had  not  been  able  to  give  any  satisfactory  account. 

On  the  27th  of  June,  V^'illiam  Scott,  of  whose  complaint  I  have  before  had 
occasion  to  speak,  had  become  quite  delirious,  and  could  only  be  kept  in  bed 
by  force.  Mr.  Edwards  was  at  first  in  hopes  that  this  was  the  effect  of  some 
temporary  cause,  but  was  afterwards  of  opinion  that  it  resembled,  in  every 
respect,  a  state  of  absolute  and  permanent  derangement ;  and  this  opinioi^ 
was  subsequently  strengthened  by  some  circumstances  which  only  now  came 
to  our  knowledge,  and  of  which  an  account  will  be  given  in  another  place. 
Frid.  30.  For  some  days  past  Scott  had  been  gradually  growing  worse,  and  on  the 
evening  of  the  29th,  he  was  so  far  exhausted,  that  Mr.  Edwards  did  not 
expect  him  to  survive  through  the  night.  At  two  A.M.  on  the  30th,  I  was 
informed  by  that  gentleman,  that  Scott  was  dying,  and  before  I  could  get 
my  clothes  on,  he  had  breathed  his  last,  without  any  apparent  pain.  As  it 
was  proper  and  desirable,  in  every  respect,  that  his  body  should  be  opened, 
notwithstanding  the  prejudice  which  seamen  entertain  against  this  practice, 
and  which  it  would,  perhaps,  be  as  well  to  overcome  by  more  frequently 
insisting  upon  it,  I  willingly  complied  Avith  Mr.  Edwards's  request  to  be 
allowed  to  perform  the  dissection.  The  result  was  satisfactory  to  the 
medical  gentlemen  in  whose  charge  this  unfortunate  man  had  been  placed  ; 
and,  I  may  be  permitted  to  add  to  myself  also,  inasmuch  as  it  proved  his 
death  to  have  been  immediately  occasioned  by  a  disease  which,  perhaps,  no 
skill  nor  attention  could  have  cured  in  any  climate,  or  under  any  circumstances, 
and  having  no  immediate  connexion  with  our  present  peculiar  situation,  or 
with  the  nature  of  the  service  in  which  we  were  engaged.  As  this  case  has 
proved  the  only  fatal  one  during  a  voyage,  differing  in  many  respects  from 
any  before  undertaken,  a  more  particular  account  of  it  may  not,  perhaps,  be 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  215 

considered  uninteresting;    with   this  view,   therefore,  as  well  as  from  an    1820. 
anxious  desire  to  do   justice  to  the  skill  and  humane  attention  displayed  by  v^-y-O 
the  medical  officers  during  the  whole  course   of  this  poor  man's  illness,  I 
have  requested  Mr.  Edwards   to  furnish  me  with  a  detailed  statement  of  his 
case,  and  of  the  treatment  adopted,  which  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 

For  the  last  two  or  three  days,  the  spring-tides,  which  had  been  unusually 
high,  overflowed  the  ice  near  the  beach,  so  as  to  make  it  difficult  to  land 
near  high  water.  In  the  general  appearance  of  the  ice  of  the  harbour,  there 
was  no  very  perceptible  alteration  from  day  to  day,  though  the  thawing 
process  was  certainly  going  on  with  great  rapidity  at  this  period.  The  officer 
who  relieved  Lieutenant  Hoppner,  in  command  of  the  hunting  party  to  the 
south-west,  received  strict  injunctions  to  watch  the  ice  constantly,  and  to 
make  an  immediate  report  of  any  appearance  of  open  water  in  any  direction. 
For  the  last  four  or  five  days  in  June,  we  had  experienced  more  of  southerly 
winds  than  usual,  the  weather  being  generally  cloudy,  with  a  good  deal  of 
small  rain,  and  now  and  then  a  little  snow  ;  the  general  temperature  of  the 
atmosphere,  however,  was  pleasant  and  comfortable  to  our  feelings,  as  well  as 
favourable  to  the  dissolution  of  the  ice,  for  which  we  were  so  anxiously  looking. 

One  of  Mr.  Nias's  party  arrived  from  the  eastward  on  the  morning  of  the  July- 
1st  of  July,  with  a  good  supply  of  hares,  ducks,  and  ptarmigans  ;  he  had 
seen  above  fifty  deer  in  three  days,  but  they  were  too  wild  to  allow  the 
party  to  get  near  them,  in  a  country  without  the  smallest  cover  of  any  kind. 
Another  fish  was  picked  up  to-day  in  a  hole  on  the  ice,  of  the  same  kind  as 
those  before  found. 

On  Sunday  the  2d  of  July,  after  divine  service  had  been  performed,  the  Sun.  2, 
body  of  the  deceased  was  committed  to  the  earth,  on  a  level  piece  of  ground 
about  a  hundred  yards  from  the  beach,  with  every  solemnity  which  the 
occasion  demanded,  and  the  circumstances  of  our  situation  would  pennit. 
The  ensigns  and  pendants  were  lowered  half-mast  during  the  procession, 
and  the  remains  of  our  unfortunate  shipmate  were  attended  to  the  grave  by 
every  officer  and  man  in  both  ships.  To  the  performance  of  this  last 
melancholy  duty,  under  any  circumstances  sufficiently  impressive,  the 
peculiarity  of  the  scene  around  us,  and  of  the  circumstances  in  which  we 
were  placed,  could  not  fail  to  impart  an  additional  feeling  of  awful  solemnity, 
which  it  is  more  easy  to  imagine  than  to  describe.  A  neat  tomb-stone  was 
afterwards  placed  at  the  head  of  the  grave  by  Mr.  Fisher,  who  carved  upon 
it  the  name  of  the  deceased  with  the  other  usual  information. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL   JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship   Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  June 

,   1820. 

Teraperatiire  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Day 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

1 

o 
+  40 

o 
+  31 

+  36.& 

incbes. 
30.00 

inches. 
;29.88 

inches. 
29.940 

Nb.E. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy  Vfeather. 

2 

36 

,31 

34.17 

30.00 

30.00 

30.000 

to  N.W. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

3 

43 

29 

35.60 

29.98 

29.74 

29.802 

f    N.  by  West  to     \ 
\           South.          j 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

4 

39 

31.5 

35.63 

29.70 

29.50 

29.597 

South 

Ditto           ditto. 

5 

40 

30 

34.87 

29.58 

29.52 

29.555 

S.b.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

6 

37 

28 

32.17 

29.68 

29.60 

29.642 

S.E.  by  S.  to  N.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

7 

31 

28 

29.63 

29.64 

29.50 

29.553 

N.N.W. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

8 

36 

28 

32.08 

29.60 

29.55 

29.590 

West. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

9 

38 

30 

33.92 

29.69 

29.60 

29.638 

W.S.W.  to  North 

Light  breezes  with  rain  at  times. 

10 

33 

32 

32.25 

29.73 

29.62 

29.692 

S.E.  to  E. 

Light  airs  to  strong  breezes :  contintied  snow. 

11 

36 

33 

33.92 

29.84 

29.76 

29.792 

West. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

12 

34 

30 

32.54 

29.94 

29.86 

29.895 

West. 

Moderate  and  clondy. 

13 

37 

29.5 

33.46 

29.93 

29.75 

29.895 

West. 

Moderate  vrith  snow  and  rain. 

14 

S7 

32 

34.75 

29.73 

29.63 

29.700 

S.S.W.  to  N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes,  with  squalls  and  snow. 

15 

39 

29 

34.67 

29.80 

29.74 

29.775 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  clear. 

16 

37 

29 

33.75 

29.90 

29.85 

29.877 

S.S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

17 

43 

30 

34.58 

30.00 

29.90 

29.945 

S.E. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

IS 

43 

31 

37.33 

30.13 

30.00 

30.062 

S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  fine.   ; 

19 

40 

34 

37.67 

30.13 

30.08 

30.112 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

39 

39 

34 

36.25 

30.07 

29.97 

30.022 

North 

Ditto                 ditto. 

21 

42 

35 

38.17 

29.96 

29.93 

29.947 

North 

Strong  breezes— fine  clear  weather. 

22 

51 

36 

44.33 

30.04 

29.94 

30.005 

North. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

23 

45.5 

38 

42.08 

30.00 

29.93 

29.970 

North 

Moderate  and  fine. 

24 

41 

33 

37.00 

29.94 

29.79 

29.842 

:n.n.w. 

Moderate  and  cloudy  :  occasional  snow. 

25 

41.5 

34 

37.42 

2930 

29.76 

29.790 

North 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy  weather. 

26 

47 

33 

40.50 

29.90 

29.81 

^9.852 

N.N.E.  toS.W. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy— small  rain. 

27 

43 

36 

39.33 

29.96 

29.87 

29.907 

S.S.W. 

Ditto                 ditto 

28 

44 

32 

37.17 

129.81 

29.74 

29.785 

S.E. 

Ditto                 ditto. 

29 

46 

39 

'41.92 

29.79 

29.75 

29.767 

5  North  by  East  to  > 
\         South.          > 

Ditto     '            ditto. 

30 

48 

37 

48;75 

29.80 

29.59 

29.677 

S.S.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy.  \ 

+  51 

+  28 

+  36.24 

30.13 

29.50 

29.8^ 

VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.    '  217 

A  herd  of  fourteen  deer  being  seen  near  the  ships,  a  party  was  despatched  in     l82o. 
pursuit  of  them,  with  our  customary  want  of  success,  it  being  almost  impossible  ^i^J^ 
to  approach  them  in  so  open  and  exposed  a  country,  so  that  these  excursions 
generally  ended  in  a  chase  between  the  men  and  the  deer ;  some  good  dogs 
would,  perhaps,^  have  been  serviceable  to  us  on  these  occasions. 

Having  taken  on  board  our  bower  anchors  and  cables  from  the  beach,  Mon.  3. 
on  account  of  the  difficulty  we  should  have  found  in  removing  them  after 
the  ice  began  to  break  up,  each  ship  placed  two  stream  anchors  on  shore 
with  hawsers  from  the  bow  and  quarter,  to  hold  them  in  case  of  any 
sudden  motion  of  the  ice,  the  pools  upon  which  now  increased  very 
perceptibly  both  in  depth  and  extent  from  day  to  day.  In  looking 
into  these  pools,  it  always  appeared,  during  the  day,  as  if  drops  of  rain 
were  falling  into  them ;  this  was  caused  by  the  continual  extrication  of  air 
from  the  ice  which  was  thawing  below,  and  by  the  rising  of  the  bubbles  to 
the  surface.  At  six  P.M.,  the  atmosphere  being  clear  and  serene,  the 
thermometer  rose  to  53°  in  the  shade,  but  immediately  on  a  moderate  breeze 
springing  up  from  the  northward  it  fell  to  45°.  On  the  5th  and  6th,  how- 
ever, it  stood  for  three  hours  from  50°  to  52°,  with  a  fresh  breeze  from 
the  northward,  accompanied  by  cloudy  weather ;  and  on  the  afternoons 
of  the  two  following  days,  the  wind  being  still  northerly,  the  atmosphere 
continued  for  some  time  at  the  temperature  of  55°. 

The  dissolution  of  the  ice  of  the  harbour  went  on  so  rapidly  in  the  early  Thurs.6. 
part  of  July,  that  we  were  greatly  surprised,  on  the  6th,  in  finding,  that  in 
several  of  the  pools  of  water,  on  its  upper  surface,  holes  were  washed  quite 
through  to  the  sea  beneath.  On  examining  several  of  these,  we  found  that 
the  average  thickness  of  the  ice,  in  the  upper  part  of  the  harbour  where  the 
ships  were  lying,  did  not  exceed  two  feet,  which  was  much  less  than  we  had 
any  idea  of  Towards  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  however,  where  the  water 
was  deeper,  no  such  holes  made  their  appearance  for  some  days  after  this. 
It  must  here  be  remarked,  that  in  all  cases  we  found  the  ice  to  be  first  thawed 
and  broken  up  in  the  shoalest.  water,  in  consequence,  I  suppose,  of  the 
greater  facility  with  Avhich  the  ground,  at  a  small  depth  below  the  surface  of 
the  sea,  absorbed  and  radiated  the  heat  of  the  sun's  rays ;  and,  as  it  is  in  such 
situations  that  water  generally  freezes  the  first,  this  circumstance  seems  a  1 
remarkable  instance  of  the  provision  of  nature  for  maintaining  such  a  balance  ' 
in  the  quantity  of  ice  annually  formed  and  dissolved,  as  shall  prevent  any 
undue  or  extraordinary  accumulation  of  it  in  any  part  of  the  Polar  regions  of.      ; 


218  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  the  earth.  In  consequence  of  this  circumstance,  we  were  now  enabled,  for 
the  first  time,  to  bring  our  boats  down  to  the  beach,  so  as  to  allow  them 
to  float  about  high  water,  in  order  to  prevent  their  being  split  by  the  sun, 
while  in  every  other  part  of  the  harbour,  except  thus  near  the  shore,  we  had 
not  the  means  of  doing  so  till  some  days  afterwards.  Among  the  means^, 
also,  which  nature  employs  in  these  regions  to  dissolve,  during  the  short 
summer,  the  ice  which  has  been  formed  upon  the  sea  by  the  cold  of  winter, 
there  appears  to  be  none  more  efficacious  than  the  numerous  streams  of  water 
produced  by  the  melting  of  the  snow  upon  the  land,  and  which,  for  a  period 
of  at  least  six  or  seven  weeks,  even  in  the  climate  of  Melville  Island,  are 
constantly  discharging  themselves  into  the  ocean.  On  this  account,  it  would 
appear  probable,  that  high  land  is  more  favourable  to  the  dissolution  and 
dispersion  of  the  ice  near  its  shores  than  that  which  is  lower,  because  it 
supplies  a  never-ceasing  flow  of  water  during  the  whole  of  the  thawing 
season.  For  instance,  on  the  1st  of  September,  1818,  we  found  the  stream 
in  Possession  Bay  discharging  a  torrent  of  water  into  the  sea,  and  there  was 
still  snow  enough  remaining  on  the  land  to  keep  up  an  abundant  stream,  till 
it  should  be  arrested  by  the  frost  of  winter ;  whereas,  on  these  islands,  which 
are  very  low,  comparatively  with  the  land  about  Possession  Bay,  or  in  Sir 
James  Lancaster's  Sound,  we  found,  at  the  same  season,  in  1819,  and  much 
before  the  thawing  had  finished,  that  they  were  completely  free  from  snow, 
the  ravines  entirely  dry,  and  the  whole  face  of  the  islands  parched  and 
cracked  with  drought,  as  if  there  had  been  no  moisture  upon  the  surface  of 
the  ground  for  some  time. 

On  unhanging  the  rudders,  and  hauling  them  up  on  the  ice  for  examination, 
we  found  them  a  good  deal  shaken  and  grazed  by  the  blows  they  had 
received  during  the  time  the  ships  were  beset  at  the  entrance  of  Davis' 
Strait.  We  found,  also,  that  the  rudder-cases  in  both  ships  had  been  fitted 
too  small,  occasioning  considerable  difficulty  in  getting  the  rudders  down 
when  working,  a  circumstance  by  no  means  disadvantageous,  (perhaps,  indeed, 
rather  the  contrary,)  on  ordinary  service  at  sea,  but  which  should  be  carefully 
avoided  in  ships  intended  for  the  navigation  among  ice,  as  it  is  frequently 
necessary  to  unship  the  rudder  at  a  short  notice,  in  order  to  preserve  it  from 
injury,  as  our  future  experience  was  soon  to  teach  us.  This  fault  was, 
however,  soon  remedied,  and  the  rudders  again  hung,  in  readiness  for  sea. 
About  this  time,  a  few  flocks  of  looms  occasionally  made  their  appearance, 
invariably  flying  quite  round  the  harbour,  exactly  over  the  narrow  and  only 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  219 

strip  of  water  which  I  have  before  described  as  occurring  next  the  beach,  as    1820. 
if  looking  out  for  food.  "^"'y- 

From  the  7th  to  the  10th,  a  good  deal  of  rain  fell  at  intervals,  which  pro-  Mon.  lo. 
duced  a  very  sensible  alteration  in  the  ice,  making  it  look  of  a  blue  colour 
all  over  the  surface,  and  increasing  the  size  and  number  of  the  holes  in  a 
much  greater  degree  than  during  the  same  interval  at  any  other  period. 
Mr.  Reid,  Avho  returned  on  the  10th  from  his  hunting-excursion  to  the 
south-west,  reported,  however,  that  he  had  not,  during  his  absence,  per- 
ceived the  ice  to  be  in  motion,  nor  was  there  any  perceptible  alteration  in 
the  general  mass  upon  the  coast,  except  in  the  increase  of  the  number  of  pools 
upon  it,  and  in  the  breadth  of  the  little  channel  between  the  ice  and  the 
land.  This  channel,  if  so  it  may  be  called,  when  the  depth  was  not  yet 
sufficient  to  float  one  of  our  whale-boats,  was  from  forty  to  fifty  yards  wide  in 
the  part  of  the  harbour  next  us,  but  much  more  on  the  northern  and  eastern 
sides,  where  the  shoal-water  extends  to  a  greater  distance  from  the  shore. 
We  were  in  hopes  that  the  spring  tides,  which  took  place  about  the  11th, 
would  have  been  serviceable  in  breaking  up  the  ice,  which  now  began  to 
approach  that  state  of  rottenness,  as  the  sailors  term  it,  which  made  it 
dangerous  to  walk  across  the  pools,  as  we  had  hitherto  been  accustomed  to 
do,  to  avoid  the  trouble  of  going  round.  No  sensible  alteration  was  pro- 
duced, however,  by  the  highest  tide  ;  probably  in  consequence  of  the  ice 
being  already  so  completely  detached  from  the  shore,  as  to  allow  it  to  rise 
freely,  and  without  resistance  of  any  kind,  like  any  other  floating  body ;  the 
height  and  velocity  of  the  tides  are  here,  indeed,  so  small,  that  it  was  not 
reasonable  to  expect  much  from  them  in  this  way. 

On  the  14th  a  boat  passed,  for  the  first  time,  between  the  ships  and  the  Frid.  14. 
shore,  in  consequence  of  the  junction  of  a  number  of  the  pools  and  holes  in  the 
ice,  and  on  the  following  day  the  same  kind  of  communication  was  practicable 
between  the  ships.  It  now  became  necessary,  therefore,  to  provide  against 
the  possibility  of  the  ships  being  forced  on  shore  by  the  total  disruption  of 
the  ice  between  them  and  the  beach,  and  the  pressure  of  that  without,  by 
letting  go  a  bower-anchor  underfoot,  which  was  accordingly  done  as  soon  as 
there  was  a  hole  in  the  ice  under  the  bows  of  each,  sufficiently  large  to  allow 
tlie  anchors  to  pass  through.  We  had  now  been  quite  ready  for  sea  for  some 
days ;  and  a  regular  and  anxious  look-out  was  kept  from  the  crow's  nest  for 
any  alteration  in  the  state  of  the  ice,  which  might  favour  our  departure  from 
Winter  Harbour,  in  which  it  now  became  more  than  probable  that  we  were 


220  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    destined  to  be   detained   thus  inactively  for  a  part  of  each  month  in  the 

v.^U^  whole  year,  as  we  had  reached  it  in  the  latter  part  of  September,  and  were 

likely  to  be  prevented  leaving  it  till  after  the  commencement  of  August. 

Sun.  16.  On  the  16th  of  July  the  streams  of  water  in  the  ravines  were  once  more 
passable  with  great  ease,  and  the  snow  had  entirely  disappeared,  ex- 
cept on  the  sides  of  those  ravines,  and  in  other  hollows  where  it  had 
formed  considerable  drifts ;  so  that  the  appearance  of  the  land  was  much  the 
same  now  as  when  we  first  made  the  islands  in  the  latter  part  of  August 
the  preceding  year.  The  walks  which  our  people  were  enabled  to  take  at 
this  period,  when  the  weather  was  really  mild  and  pleasant,  and  to  our 
feelings  quite  as  warm  as  the  summer  of  any  other  climate,  together  with 
the  luxurious  living  afforded  by  our  hunting  parties,  and  by  the  abundant 
supply  of  sorrel  which  was  always  at  command,  were  the  means  of  completely 
eradicating  any  seeds  of  scurvy  which  might  have  been  lurking  in  the  consti- 
tutions of  the  officers  and  men,  who  were  now,  I  believe,  in  as  good  health, 
and  certainly  in  as  good  spirits,  as  when  the  Expedition  left  England.  Gra- 
tifying as  this  fact  could  not  but  be  to  me,  it  was  impossible  to  contemplate 
without  pain  the  probability,  now  too  evident,  that  the  shortness  of  the 
approaching  season  of  operations  would  not  admit  of  that  degree  of  success  in 
the  prosecution  of  the  main  object  of  our  enterprise,  which  might  otherwise 
have  been  reasonably  anticipated  in  setting  out  from  our  present  advanced 
station  with  two  ships  in  such  perfect  condition,  and  with  crews  so  zealous  in 
the  cause  in  which  we  were  engaged. 

Moil.  17.  From  six  A.M.  till  six  P.M.  on  the  17th,  the  thermometer  stood  generally 
from  55°  to  60°;  the  latter  temperature  being  the  highest  which  appears  in  the 
Hecla's  Meteorological  Journal  during  this  summer.  It  will  readily  be  con- 
ceived how  pleasant  such  a  temperature  must  have  been  to  our  feelings  after  the 
severe  winter  which  immediately  preceded  it.  The  month  of  July  is,  indeed,  the 
only  one  which  can  be  called  at  all  comfortable  in  the  climate  of  Melville  Island. 

Tues.  18.  On  the  18th  I  rowed  round  the  harbour  in  a  boat,  in  order  to  take  the 
soundings  as  far  as  the  ice  would  permit;  when  it  was  worthy  of  remark  how 
exactly  the  extent  of  the  clear  water  between  the  ice  and  the  shore  corre- 
sponded with  its  depth,  it  being  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  mile  wide  on  the 
north-eastern  side  of  the  harbour,  where  the  deepest  water  was  from  eight  to 
ten  feet;  while  on  the  western  side,  where  we  found  two  fathoms,  the  passage 
for  the  boat  did  not  exceed  forty  or  fifty  yards  in  width.  This  channel  was 
almost  daily  becoming   wider,  especially   after  a  strong  breeze  from  any 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  221 

quarter  causing  a  ripple  on  tlie  sea,  by  whicli  tlie  edge  of  the  ice  was  con-    1820. 
stantly  washed  and  rapidly  dissolved.     My  intention,  therefore,  at  this  time  ,^,!^ 
was,   carefully  to  watch  the  increasing  breadth  of  this   open  water;   and, 
whenever  a  depth  of  three  fathoms  could  be  found,  to  warp  the  ships  through 
it  along-shore,  as  the  only  means  which  appeared  likely  to  be  allowed  us  of 
commencing  our  summer's  navigation. 

On  the  20th,  there  being  a  strong  breeze  from  the  N.N.E.,  with  fog  andThui.  20. 
rain,  all  favourable  to  the  dispersion  of  the  ice,  that  part  of  it  which  was 
immediately  around  the  Hecla,  and  from  which  she  had  been  artificially  de- 
tached so  long  before,  at  length  separated  into  pieces,  and  floated  away ; 
carrying  with  it  the  collection  of  ashes  and  other  rubbish  which  had  been 
accumulating  for  the  last  ten  months ;  so  that  the  ship  was  now  once  more 
fairly  riding  at  anchor,  but  with  the  ice  still  occupying  the  whole  of  the 
centre  of  the  harbour,  and  within  a  few  yards  of  her  bows :  the  Griper  had 
been  set  free  in  a  similar  manner  a  few  days  before.  But  it  was  only  in  that 
part  of  the  harbour  where  the  ships  were  lying  that  the  ice  had  yet  sepa- 
rated in  this  manner  at  so  great  a  distance  from  the  shore ;  a  circumstance 
probably  occasioned  by  the  greater  radiation  of  heat  from  the  ships,  and 
from  the  materials  of  various  kinds  which  we  had  occasion  to  deposit  upon  the 
ice  during  the  time  of  our  equipment. 

Lieutenant  Liddon  accompanied  me  in  a  boat  down  the  west  shore  of  the 
harbour,  to  the  southern  point  of  the  entrance,  in  order  to  sound  along  the 
edge  of  the  ice,  where  we  found  from  seven  to  fifteen  feet  water ;  the  ice 
about  the  entrance  appeared  still  very  solid  and  compact,  and  not  a  single 
hole  was  at  this  time  noticed  through  any  of  the  pools  upon  its  surface,  ex- 
cept one  which  was  made  by  a  seal,  and  which  discovered  the  thickness  of  the 
ice  to  be  there  between  two  and  three  feet. 

Mr.  Dealey,  with  a  hunting  party,  returned  late  at  night  without  success, 
having  lost  his  way  in  a  thick  fog,  that  Jiung  over  the  land  at  intervals 
during  the  day,  a  circumstance  which  did  not  often  occur  while  the  ships 
remained  in  harbour :  we  frequently,  however,  especially  in  the  month  of 
July,  perceived  heavy  fog-banks  covering  the  horizon  in  the  offing,  while  the 
weather  was  perfectly  clear  near  the  shore. 

On  the  21st,  Mr.  Fife  returned  from  our  hunting  station  twelve  or  fourteen  Frid.  21, 
miles  to  the  south-west,  and  reported  that  the  appearance  of  the  ice  in  that 
quarter  was  much  the  same  as  in  Winter  Harbour,  except  that  the  space 
between  the  ice  and  the  land  was  in  most  parts  not  so  broad. 


222  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1«20.        There  was  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  north-eastward,  with  fine  clear  weather^ 

v-^-^w/  on  the  22d,  which  made  the  Hecla  swing  round  into  twenty  feet  water  astern ; 

Sat.  22.  and  the  ice,  being  now  moveable  in  the  harbour,  came  home  towards  the 

shore  with  this  wind,  but  not  so  much  as  to  put  any  considerable  strain  on 

the  cable  of  either  ship ;  and  the  holding-ground  being  excellent,  there  was 

nothing  to  apprehend  for  their  security. 

During  a  walk  which  I  took  to  the  southward  this  day  for  the  purpose  of 
examining  the  ice  near  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  I  was  glad  to  find  that  a 
quantity  of  it  had  lately  been  forced  up  on  the  reef,  by  the  pressure  of  the 
external  ice,  a  proof  that  it  had  some  room  in  which  to  acquire  motion, 
and  which  encouraged  a  hope  that  when  the  wind  should  blow  directly  oflF 
the  land,  it  might  drift  the  ice  sufficiently  from  the  shore  to  afford  us  a  navi- 
gable channel  to  the  westward.  I,  therefore,  went  down  in  a  boat  in  the 
afternoon,  to  see  if  any  thing  could  be  done,  but  found  the  shore  so  loaded 
with  broken  ice  which  a  north-east  wind  had  first  separated  and  then  drifted 
upon  the  beach,  that  I  could  not  get  so  far  as  the  south  point  of  the  entrance. 

Sun.  2a.  A  fresh  gale  which  blew  from  the  northward,  on  the  morning  of  the  23d, 
caused  a  great  alteration  in  the  appearance  of  the  ice  near  the  ships,  but 
none  whatever  in  that  in  the  offing,  or  at  the  mouth  of  the  harbour,  except 
that  the  shores  were  there  more  encumbered  than  before,  owing  to  the 
quantity  of  pieces  which  were  separated  and  driven  down  from  the  norths- 
ward,  so  that  our  small  boat  could  not  succeed  in  getting  along  the  shore. 
The  north  shore  of  the  harbour  was  now,  however,  so  clear  as  to  induce  me 
to  send  Lieutenant  Beechey,  with  two  boats  to  haul  the  seine,  in  the  hope  of 
catching  some  such  fish  as  we  had  some  time  ago  found  upon  the  ice.  Our 
fishermen,  however,  had  little  success,  having  brought  on  board  only  three 
small  fish,  which  were  all  that  were  found  in  the  net.  ^ 

Mon.  24.  On  the  24th,  the  sails  were  bent,  in  readiness  for  our  starting  at  a  moment's 
notice,  though,  it  must  be  confessed,  that  the  motive  for  doing  so  was  to 
make  some  show  of  moving,  rather  than  any  expectation  which  I  dared  to 
entertain  of  soon  escaping  from  our  long  and  tedious  confinement ;  for  it  was 
impossible  to  conceal  from  the  men  the  painful  fact,  that,  in  eight  or  nine 
weeks  from  this  period,  the  navigable  season  must  unavoidably  come  to  a 
conclusion. 

Tues.  25.  I  went  away  in  a  boat  early  on  the  morning  of  the  25th,  in  order  to  soun^ 
the  harbour,  in  those  parts  where  the  ice  would  admit  the  boat,  with  a  viei 
to  take  advantage  of  the  first  favourable  change  which  might  present  itsell 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  223 

The  wind  having  come  round  to  the  southward  in  the  afternoon,  caused 
the  separation  of  a  large  portion  of  ice  on  the  northern  side  of  that  which 
now  occupied  the  harbour,  and  the  detached  pieces  drifting  down  towards  us, 
rendered  it  necessary  to  be  on  our  guard  lest  the  ships  should  be  forced  from 
their  anchorage.  On  this  account,  as  well  as  from  an  anxious  and  impatient 
desire  to  make  a  move,  however  trifling,  from  a  spot  in  which  we  had 
now  unwillingly  but  unavoidably  passed  nearly  ten  months,  and  of  which 
we  had  long  been  heartily  tired,  I  directed  lines  to  be  run  out  for  the  pur- 
pose of  warping  the  ships  along  the  ice  in  the  centre  of  the  harbour,  and  at 
half-past  two  P.M.,  the  anchors  were  weighed.  As  soon  as  a  strain  Avas 
put  upon  the  lines,  however,  we  found  that  the  ice  to  which  they  were 
attached  came  home  upon  us,  instead  of  the  ships  being  drawn  out  to  the 
southward,  and  we  were,  therefore,  obliged  to  have  recourse  to  the  kedge- 
anchors,  which  we  could  scarcely  find  room  to  drop,  on  account  of  the 
closeness  of  the  ice.  Having  warped  a  little  way  out  from  the  shore,  into 
five  fathoms  and  a  half,  it  was  found  impossible  to  proceed  any  farther 
without  a  change  of  wind,  and  the  anchors  were,  therefore,  dropped  till 
such  a  change  should  take  place.  In  the  course  of  the  evening  all  the  loose 
ice  drifted  past  us  to  the  northward,  loading  that  shore  of  the  harbour  with 
innumerable  fragments  of  it,  and  leaving  a  considerable  space  of  clear 
water  along  shore  to  the  southward.  Our  hunting  parties  were  now  recalled, 
and  returned  on  board  in  good  health  in  the  course  of  this  and  the  following 
day ;  having  supplied  us,  during  the  whole  time  which  this  mode  had  been 
adopted,  with  a  quantity  of  game  sufficient  to  substitute  for  more  than  one 
month's  established  proportion  of  meat  on  board  both  ships.  Their  success 
had  of  late,  however,  become  very  indifferent,  as  they  had  not  seen  a  deer 
for  several  days,  and  the  birds  were  grown  extremely  shy.  A  herd  of 
seven  musk-oixen  had  lately  been  met  with  to  the  south-west. 

On  the  morning  of  the  26th,  it  was  nearly  calm,  with  continued  rain  and  Wed.  26. 
thick  weather ;  and  there  being  now  a  space  of  clear  water  for  nearly  three 
quarters  of  a  mile  to  the  southward  of  us,  we  took  advantage  of  a  breeze  which 
sprung  up  from  the  northward  to  weigh,  at  nine  A.M.  and  run  down  as  far  as  the 
ice  would  permit,  and  then  dropped  our  anchors  in  the  best  births  we  could 
select,  close  to  the  edge  of  it,  with  the  intention  of  advancing  step  by  step, 
as  it  continued  to  separate  by  piece-meal.  The  ice  across  the  entrance  of 
the  harbour  as  far  as  this  spot,  and  the  whole  of  that  in  the  offing,  of  which 
we  had  here  a  commanding   view  from  the  Hecla's  crow's-nest,  was  still 


mi)  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  quite  continuous  and  unbroken,  with  the  same  appearance  of  solidity  as  it 
d^X^  had  during  the  middle  of  winter,  except  that  the  pools  of  water  were  numerous 
upon  its  surface. 

Thur.  27.  On  the  27th,  the  weather  was  clear  and  fine,  with  a  strong  and  rather 
cold  wind  from  the  W.N.W.,  the  thermometer  not  being  higher  than  37° 
during  the  day.  The  general  temperature  of  the  atmosphere  had,  indeed, 
before  this  time,  begun  very  sensibly  to  decrease,  and  from  this  period  the 
thermometer  seldom  stood  so  high  as  40°  in  the  shade  during  the  rest  of 
the  summer.  Some  showers  of  sleet  and  snow  prevented  our  sending  the 
people  on  shore  to  pick  sorrel,  as  they  had  been  accustomed  to  do  for  some 
weeks  past ;  this  valuable  plant  was  now  on  the  decline,  the  leaves  begin- 
ning to  wither,  and  having  much  less  of  that  acid  taste,  which  constitutes  its 
principal  value. 

Frid.  28.  On  the  morning  of  the  28th,  the  wind,  having  shifted  to  the  southward, 
was  found  to  set  the  ice  (close  to  the  edge  of  which  the  Hecla  had  anchored) 
against  the  cable,  putting  some  strain  upon  it  in  addition  to  that  of  the  ship. 
We  veered,  therefore,  to  thirty  fathoms,  to  enable  the  anchor  to  hold  the 
better,  and  ranged  the  other  cable.  At  half-past  eight  A.M.  I  rowed  along- 
shore to  the  southward  in  a  boat  as  far  as  the  ice  would  allow  us  to  go,  which, 
however,  was  not  a  single  yard  beyond  where  Lieutenant  Liddon  and  myself 
had  gone,  with  almost  equal  facility,  eight  days  before.  I  then  landed,  and 
walked  about  two  miles  to  the  southward,  where  I  had  a  clear  view  for  several 
miles  in  that  direction.  The  space  between  the  ice  and  the  land  between 
the  entrance  of  Winter  Harbour  and  Cape  Hearne  was  so  small  that  a  boat 
could  not  possibly  have  gone  that  distance,  even  if  the  passage  out  of  the 
harbour  had  been  clear.  The  only  appearance  of  the  breaking  up  of  the  ice 
consisted  in  a  quantity  of  it  having  been  recently  pressed  up  into  hummocks 
in  some  places  near  the  beach ;  but,  upon  the  whole,  I  was  compelled  to 
admit,  in  my  own  mind,  that  there  never  was  a  sea  which  appeared  less 
navigable.  On  my  return,  I  perceived  that  our  people  were  busy  in  the  boats, 
and  found  when  I  got  on  board,  that  the  Hecla  had  been  forced  by  the  ice  into 
thirteen  feet  water  abaft,  the  whole  body  having  come  home  upon  the  cable, 
so  as  to  drag  the  anchor.  Lieutenant  Beechey  had,  with  great  promptness, 
cut  a  bight  or  dock  in  the  ice,  and  dropped  the  kedge  in  the  middle  of  it,  by 
which  means  he  had,  before  my  return  on  board,  succeeded  in  getting  the 
ship  once  more  into  four  fathoms ;  and  the  small  bower  being  then  hove  up, 
she  was  hauled  out  into  seven  fathoms,  and  the  other  anchor  let  go,  after 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  295 

which  we  lay  quite  securely,  the  wind  freshening  up  strong  from  the  westward     1820. 
at  night,  which  kept  the  ice  at  a  sufficient  distance  from  us.  \^!^ 

In  the  mean  time  Lieutenant  Liddon  had  sent  me  word  that  the  Griper,  S«'-  29- 
which  had  taken  her  birth  to  the  southward  of  ours,  was  not  in  a  much  more 
secure  situation  than  that  from  which  the  Hecla  had  just  escaped,  the  ice 
pressing  forcibly  upon  her  cable  at  times,  so  as  to  endanger  her  being  forced 
on  shore  by  it.  Lieutenant  Liddon  very  prudently,  therefore,  unshipped  his 
rudder,  and  otherwise  prepared  his  ship  in  the  best  manner  he  could  fo*' 
taking  the  beach,  which  is  here  tolerably  bold,  and  quite  soft  and  muddy. 
Happily,  however,  the  westerly  wind,  which  shortly  after  sprung  up,  prevented 
any  accident  of  this  nature. 

Many  of  the  pools  of  water  upon  the  ice  were  slightly  frozen  over  during  Sun.  30. 
the  night,  which  had  seldom  been  the  case  for  several  weeks  before,  but  which 
now  took  place  almost  every  night  for  the  rest  of  the  season,  as  soon  as  the 
sun  had  become  low.  At  three  P.M.  another  large  portion  of  the  ice  near  us 
detached  itself  from  the  main-body,  and  floated  away  to  the  eastward,  leaving 
us  a  space  of  three  or  four  hundred  yards  in  extent  clear  all  round  the  ship, 
of  which  circumstance  we  immediately  took  advantage  to  weigh  the  anchor, 
and  shift  our  birth  further  from  the  shore. 

The  wind  continued  fresh  from  the  W.S.W.,  and  at  half-past  seven  P.M.  I 
was  informed  by  Mr.  Palmer  that  a  separation  of  the  ice  had  just  taken  place 
in  the  offing,  which,  on  going  into  the  crow's  nest,  I  found  to  consist  of  a 
lane  of  clear  water,  narrow  and  not  altogether  continuous,  lying  in  a  directioa 
nearly  parallel  to  that  of  the  coast,  and  about  three  miles  distant  from  it, 
being  probably  the  boundary  of  the  last  winter's  ice.  From  the  outer  point 
of  the  reef  of  Winter  Harbour  a  crack  commenced,  and  could  be  traced,  at 
intervals,  till  it  appeared  to  join  the  line  of  separation  before  described  ;  the 
ice  across  the  mouth  of  the  harbour  remained  perfectly  compact  and  unbroken, 
so  that  we  could  still  do  nothing  but  watch  the  progress  of  the  operation 
which  seemed  at  length  to  have  commenced  in  earnest. 

The  wind  being  from  the  S.S.W.  during  the  night,  served  to  close  the  lane  Mon.  31. 
of  water  which  had  appeared  in  the  offing  the  preceding  day,  which  we  con- 
sidered a  favourable  circumstance,  as  shewing  that  the  external  mass  of  ice 
was  in  motion.  In  the  course  of  the  day,  the  wind  shifting  to  the  W.N.W., 
we  once  more  discovered  a  small  opening  between  the  old  and  young  floes,  and 
at  eleven  P.M.,  the  whole  body  of  the  ice  in  the  harbour  was  perceived  to  be 
moving  slowly  out  to  the  south-eastward,  breaking  away,  for  the  first  time. 


226  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERy 

1820.    at  the  points  which  form  the  entrance  of  the   harbour.     This  sudden  and 
v^lj^  unexpected  change  rendering  it  probable  that  we  should  at  length  be  re- 
leased, I  sent  to  Captain  Sabine,  who  had  been  desirous  of  continuing  his 
observations   on  the   pendulum  to   the  last  moment,   to  request  he  would 
have  the  clocks  ready  for  embarkation  at  an  early  hour  in  the  morning. 

I  furnished  Lieutenant  Liddon  with  instructions  for  his  future  guidance  during 
the  ensuing  season  of  operations,  appointing  also  certain  places  of  rendez- 
vous, to  facilitate  our  meeting,  in  case  of  unavoidable  separation  during  that 
period.  I  sent  also  on  board  the  Griper,  in  compliance  with  my  Instructions 
on  that  head,  a  chart  of  our  late  discoveries,  together  with  a  duplicate  copy 
of  every  document  of  interest  relating  to  the  Expedition. 

The  latitude  of  the  anchorage  in  Winter  Harbour,  by  the  mean  of 
thirty-nine  meridian  altitudes,  is -     -    74°  47'  19".36  N. 

The  longitude,  by  the  mean  of  six  hundred  and 
ninety-two  sets  of  observations,  consisting  of  six  thou- 
sand eight  hundred  and  sixty-two  lunar  distances       -  110°  48'  29".2  W. 

The  dip  of  the  magnetic  needle 88°  43'  N. 

The  variation     - -    -    -     -  127°  47'  50"       E. 

The  mean  time  of  high  water,  on  the  full  and  change  days  of  the 
moon, ---1  hour  29  minutes. 

!May    -     -     -  2  feet  6^  inches. 
June    -     -     -  2     „     7 
July    -    -    -  2    „    81. 


ni/'/L'/ic;i  M'.^'/m  Mimii  AWmuirl,-  SlnvtLmdmMujrli  iSl. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

during  the  Month  of  July 

,  1820. 

Day 

Temperature  of  Air 
in  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

1 

Maxi- 

Mini- 

Mean. 

Maxi. 
mum. 

Mini. 

Mean. 

o 
+  44 

o 
+  36 

+  40.58 

inches. 
29.60 

inches. 
29.56 

inches. 
29.578 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

2 

45 

36 

40..50 

29.70 

29.62 

29.657 

N.N.E. 

Ditto                  ditto.' 

3 

53 

34 

43.83 

29.73 

29.71 

29.720 

North. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

4 

45 

37 

39.83 

29.77 

29.73 

29.747 

North. 

Strong  breezes— squalls  occasionally. 

5 

52 

37 

44.33 

29.83 

29.75 

29.775 

North. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

6 

51 

43 

47.67 

29.83 

29.75 

29.787 

North. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

7 

55 

41 

47.42 

29.90 

29.83 

29.863 

North. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

8 

55 

43 

48.75 

29.90 

29.86 

29.882 

N.N.W. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

9 

49 

40 

43.58 

30.01 

29.77 

29.903 

South. 

Freshibreezes — occasional  rain. 

10 

48 

41 

45.67 

29.83 

29.70 

29.765 

South. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

11 

49 

43 

43.33 

29.90 

29.80 

29.845 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

12 

49 

40 

43.75 

29.80 

29.78 

29.797 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  with  rain. 

13 

55 

40 

46.00 

29.82 

29.76 

29.790 

N.  by  W.  to  N.N.W. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

14 

56 

32 

48.25 

29.76 

29.66 

29.720 

!;  .S.W. 

From  light  to  strong  breezes. 

15 

47 

38 

43.00 

29.79 

29.68 

29.710 

South. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

16 

49 

36.5 

42.87 

29.76 

29.72 

29.753 

S.S.E. 

Light  airs  and  fine  clear  weather. 

17 

CO 

41 

51.08 

2Q.81 

29.75 

29.790 

North. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

18 

48 

34 

43.12 

29.84 

29.69 

29.788 

S.S.E. 

Light  airs,  and  fine  clear  weather. 

19 

50 

36 

43.17 

29.75 

29.69 

29.723 

S.E. 

Light  airs  and  hazy. 

20 

43 

38 

40.50 

20.70 

29.60 

29.023 

N.N.E. 

Light  airs  with  rain. 

21 

45 

33 

40.33 

29.64 

29.00 

29.623 

N.  byE. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

22 

50 

37 

45.01 

29.69 

29.66 

29.675 

N.N.E. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

23 

43 

34 

39.17 

29.70 

29.67 

29.090 

North. 

Ditto                  ditto. 

24 

49 

36 

41.83 

29.71 

29.60 

29.678 

South. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

25 

50 

35.5 

43.58 

29.59 

29.31 

29.453 

E.by  N.  toS.W. 

Light  breezes  and  fine. 

26 

42 

34 

36.92 

29.27 

29.13 

29.175 

W.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy— snow  and  rain. 

27 

37 

32.5 

34.07 

29.44 

29.26 

29.387 

W.N.W. 

Ditto                         <      (. 

28 

42 

34 

37.29 

29.39 

29.30 

29.335 

Round  compass. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy. 

29 

38 

32 

34.58 

29.52 

29.34 

29.452 

S.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy  :  hail  and  snow. 

30 

42 

32 

37.25 

20.55 

29.52 

29.555 

S.S.W.toWest. 

Moderate  and  cloudy :   hail  and  sleet. 

31 

40 

S4.5 

36.96 

29.52 

29.44 

29.187 

C        S.S.W.  to        ) 
I        W.N.W.         S 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy :  snow  and  rain. 

+  60 

+  32 

+  42.41 

30.01 

29.13 

29.668 

VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 


CHAPTER  X. 

LEAVE    WINTER    HARBOUR— FLATTERING    APPEARANCE    OF    THE    SEA    TO  THE 

WESTWARD— STOPPED    BY  THE  ICE  NEAR  CAPE  HAY FURTHER  PROGRESS 

TO  THE  LONGITUDE  OF  113°  48'  22.5,  BEING  THE  WESTERNMOST 
MERIDIAN  HITHERTO  REACHED  IN  THE  POLAR  SEA,  TO  THE  NORTH  OF 
AMERICA — BANKS'S  LAND  DISCOVERED — INCREASED  EXTENT  AND  DIMEN- 
SIONS OF  THE  ICE — RETURN  TO  THE  EASTWARD,  TO  ENDEAVOUR  TO 
PENETRATE  THE  ICE  TO  THE  SOUTHWARD — DISCOVERY  OF  SEVERAL 
ISLANDS  —  RE-ENTER    BARROWS  STRAIT,      AND      SURVEY     ITS     SOUTH     COAST 

PASS     THROUGH     SIR     JAMES    LANCASTER'S     SOUND,      ON     OUR    RETURN 

TO    ENGLAND. 

August.  I  HE  wind  still  blowing  fresh  from  the  northward  and  westward,  the  ice 
^tT"^]  continued  to  drift  out  slowly  from  the  harbour,  till,  at  eight  A.M.,  it  had  left 
the  whole  space  between  the  ships  and  Cape  Hearne  completely  clear, 
and  at  eleven  o'clock  there  appeared  to  be  water  round  the  hummocks  of 
ice  which  lie  aground  off  that  point.  In  the  mean  time,  our  boats  were 
employed  in  embarking  the  clocks,  tents,  and  observatory,  while  I  sounded 
the  entrance  of  the  harbour,  in  order  to  complete  the  survey,  which  no 
opportunity  had  offered  of  doing  before  this  time.  At  one  P.M.,  having  got 
every  thing  on  board,  and  the  ice  appearing  to  be  still  leaving  the  shore,  we 
weighed,  and  ran  out  of  Winter  Harbour,  in  which  we  had  actually,  as 
had  some  time  before  been  predicted,  passed  ten  whole  months,  and  a  part  of 
the  two  remaining  ones,  September  and  August.  The  mind  is  always  anxious, 
however,  to  find  some  ground  of  encouragement  and  hope  for  attaining  the 
object  of  its  pursuit,  and  we  did  not  fail  to  remember,  on  this  occasion,  that 
•  short  as  our  season  of  navigation  must  of  necessity  be,  we  were  about  to 
begin  that  season  on  the  anniversary  of  the  day  on  which  we  had  commenced 


t)F  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  229 

our  discoveries  from  the  entrance  of  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound  westward,    18'20. 
in  the  preceding  year ;  and  that  if  we  were  favoured  with  the  same  degree  of  ^XJ 
success  during  the  same  period  as  before,  there  could  be  little  doubt  of  the 
eventual  accomplishment  of  our  enterprise. 

In  running  along  shore  towards  Cape  Ilearne,  generally  at  the  distance  of 
half  a  mile  from  the  land,  we  had  from  ten  to  sixteen  fathoms'  water,  and 
rounded  the  hummocks  off  the  point  in  six  and  a  half  fathoms  by  three  P.M. 
As  we  opened  the  point,  it  was  pleasing  to  see  that  the  coast  to  the  west- 
ward of  it  was  more  clear  of  ice,  (excepting  the  loose  pieces  which  lay 
scattered  about  in  every  direction,  but  which  would  not  very  materially 
have  impeded  the  navigation  with  a  fair  wind,)  than  it  had  been  when  we  first 
arrived  off  it,  a  month  later  in  the  foregoing  year;  the  main  ice  having 
been  blown  off  by  the  late  westerly  and  north-westerly  winds,  to  the  distance 
of  four  or  five  miles  from  the  shore,  which,  from  all  we  have  seen  on  this 
part  of  the  coast,  appears  to  be  its  utmost  limit.  The  navigable  channel,  with 
a  beating  wind  between  the  ice  and  the  land,  was  here  from  one  to  two 
or  two  miles  and  a  half  in  width,  and  this  seemed,  from  the  mast-head,  to  con- 
tinue as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach  along-shore  to  the  westward. 

3Ve  found  the  wind  much  more  westerly  after  we  rounded  the  point,  which 
made  our  progress  slow  and  tedious ;  the  more  so,  as  we  had  every  minute 
to  luff  for  one  piece  of  ice,  and  to  bear  up  for  another,  by  which  much 
ground  was  unavoidably  lost.  We  also  found  the  ships  to  be  considerably 
impeded  by  a  tide  or  current  setting  to  the  eastward,  which,  as  it  slackened 
about  seven  in  the  evening,  I  considered  to  be  the  flood,  the  time  of  higli 
water  at  Winter  Harbour  this  day  being  about  half-past  seven.  After  a 
very  few  tacks,  we  had  the  mortification  to  perceive,  that  the  Griper  sailed 
and  worked  much  Avorse  than  before,  notwithstanding  every  endeavour 
which  Lieutenant  Liddon  had  been  anxiously  making  during  her  re-equip-, 
ment,  to  improve  those  qualities  in  which  she  had  been  found  deficient. 
She  missed  stays  several  times  in  the  course  of  the  evening,  with  smooth 
water,  and  a  fine  working  breeze ;  and,  by  midnight,  the  Hecla  had  gained 
eight  miles  to  windward  of  her,  which  obliged  me  to  heave-to,  notwith- 
standing the  increased  width  of  the  navigable  channel,  the  weather  having 
become  hazy,  so  as  to  endanger  our  parting  company. 

At  three  A.M.,  on  the  2d,  the  Griper  having  joined  us,  we  again  made  Wed. -2. 
sail  to  the  westward.     As,  however,  I   could  not  but  consider  that  her  bad 
sailing  had  already  lost  us  a  distance  of  at  least  seven  miles  in  the  first  day 


230  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  after  our  leaving  harbour ;  and,  as  it  was  evident  that  such  detention  must, 
,  s.^Sr^  if  continued,  absolutely  preclude  the  possibility  of  accomplishing  the  main 
object  of  the  Expedition,  I  addressed  a  letter  to  Lieutenant  Liddon,  de- 
siring to  be  made  acquainted  with  all  the  circumstances  of  the  Griper's 
incapacity,  that  immediate  steps  might  be  taken,  either  for  nproving 
her  trim  by  any  means  in  our  power,  or,  in  the  event  of  failing  to  do  so, 
for  removing  her  crew  and  provisions  to  the  Hecla,  and  prosecuting  the 
voyage  in  that  ship  singly. 

During  the  whole  forenoon  of  the  2d,  we  observed  a  well-defined  line  of 
ripple,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  miles  from  the  land,  and  a  few  hun- 
dred yards  from  the  edge  of  the  ice,  running  parallel  to  the  shore.  We 
tried  the  current  about  noon,  by  the  small  boat  moored  to  the  bottom,  on 
each  side  of  this  ripple ;  and  found  that  outside,  or  to  the  southward  of  it, 
it  was  running  to  the  eastward  at  the  rate  of  one  mile  per  hour,  while  within 
it,  no  current  was  perceptible.  Our  latitude,  at  noon,  by  an  indifferent 
observation,  was  74'' 36'  33",  and  the  longitude  by  account  110°  59',  being  in 
forty-nine  fathoms'  water,  on  a  bottom  of  blue  clay. 

Soon  after  noon,  a  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  S.S.W.,  which  being  rather 
upon  the  shore,  made  it  likely  that  the  ice  would  soon  begin  to  close  it ;  we, 
therefore,  began  to  look  out  for  a  situation  where  the  ships  might  be  se- 
cured in-shore,  behind  some  of  the  heavy  grounded  ice,  which  had  so  often 
before  afforded  us  shelter  under  similar  circumstances.  At  one  o'clock,  we 
perceived  that  a  heavy  floe  had  already  closed  completely  in  with  the  land, 
at  a  point  a  little  to  the  westward  of  us,  preventing  all  hope  of  further 
progress  for  the  present  in  that  direction.  A  boat  was,  therefore,  sent  to 
examine  the  ice  in-shore,  and  a  favourable  place  having  been  found  for 
our  purpose,  the  ships  Avere  hauled  in,  and  secured  there,  the  Griper's 
bow  resting  on  the  beach,  in  order  to  allow  the  Hecla  to  lie  in  security 
without  her.  This  place  was  so  completely  sheltered  from  the  access  of  the 
main  body  of  the  ice,  that  I  began  to  think  seriously  of  taking  advantage  of 
this  situation  to  remove  the  Griper's  crew  on  board  the  Hecla,  and  had  con- 
sulted the  officers  upon  the  subject.  The  circumstances,  however,  which 
subsequently  occurred,  rendering  such  a  measure  inexpedient,  because  no 
longer  necessary  to  the  accomplishment  of  the  object  in  view,  by  which^ 
alone  it  could  be  justified,  I  was  induced  to  give  it  up,  adopting  the  besiS 
means  in  our  power  to  remedy  the  evil  in  question. 

The  beach  near  which  we  were  lying  is  so  bold,  that,  in  standing  ofE^ 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  231 

and-on  in  the  afternoon,  in  more  than  one  part,  we  had  from  seven  to  ten  18-26. 
fathoms  at  two  hundred  yards  from  the  shore  ;  to  which  distance,  from  the  Jr^^" 
confidence  we  had  acquired  in  the  regularity  of  the  soundings,  we  had  no 
hesitation  in  standing  as  often  as  there  was  occasion  to  do  so,  and  always 
without  ar.:.'  apparent  risk.  So  perfectly  free  from  danger,  indeed,  is  the 
whole  of  'lis  coast,  as  long  as  the  hand-leads  are  kept  going,  that  it  has 
often  occurred  to  me  as  not  improbable,  that  the  annual  motion  of  large  and 
heavy  masses  of  ice  may  in  some  degree  prevent  the  accumulation  of  sandy 
shoals  near  the  shore,  where  local  circumstances  might  otherwise  tend  to 
produce  them,  as  in  other  seas. 

Shortly  after  our  anchoring,  the  Griper's  people  heard  the  growling  of  a 
bear  among  the  ice  near  them,  but  the  animal  did  not  appear ;  and  this  was 
the  only  instance  of  our  meeting  with  a  bear,  during  our  stay  at  Melville 
Island,  except  that  which  followed  one  of  our  men  to  the  ships,  soon  after 
our  arrival  in  Winter  Harbour.  Both  crews  were  sent  on  shore  to  pick 
sorrel,  which  was  here  not  less  abundant  than  at  our  old  quarters,  but  it  was 
now  almost  too  old  to  be  palatable,  having  nearly  lost  its  acidity  and  juice. 
We  were  here  a  mile  or  two  to  the  westward  of  Lieutenant  Hoppner's 
hunting-station,  and  the  wall  which  he  had  built  round  his  tents,  with  a 
boarding-pike  in  the  middle  of  it,  was  visible  from  the  ships.  The  only 
game  we  obtained  here  consisted  of  a  few  king-ducks,  some  of  the  young  of 
which  were  also  procured. 

The  snow  which  fell  in  the  night  was,  in  the  morning  of  the  3d,  sue-  Thurs.  3. 
ceeded  by  a  thick  fog,  which  continued  during  the  day,  preventing  our  seeing 
the  state  of  the  ice  to  the  westward.  I,  therefore,  despatched  Mr.  Palmer  in 
a  boat  to  the  point,  for  the  purpose  of  ascertaining  whether  it  was  still  close 
there.  On  his  return  in  an  hour,  Mr.  Palmer  reported  that  no  alteration  had 
taken  place  since  the  preceding  day,  there  not  being  sufficient  room  for  the 
smallest  boat  to  pass  between  the  ice  and  the  point,  close  to  which  he  found 
a  depth  of  nine  fathoms.  At  night  the  wind  got  round  to  W.N.W.,  and  after- 
wards to  north,  which  made  the  weather  clear,  and  gave  us  hopes  of  the  ice 
drifting  off  the  land. 

At  one  A.M.  on  the  4ith,  the  loose  ice  was  observed  to  be  drifting  in  upon 
us,  the  wind  having  veered  to  the  eastward  of  north ;  and  soon  after  a 
floe,  of  not  less  than  five  miles  in  length,  and  a  mile  and  a  half  across,  was 
found  to  be  approaching  the  shore  at  a  quick  rate.  The  ships  were  imme- 
diately hauled  as  near  the  shore  as  possible,  and  preparation  made  for  un- 


'232  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1S20.  shipping  the  rudders,  if  necessary.  The  floe  was  brought  up,  however,  by 
\,*4-vy  the  masses  of  ice  a-ground  outside  of  us,  with  which  it  successively  came  in 
contact,  and  the  ships  remained  in  perfect  security ;  the  floe,  as  usual  after 
the  first  violence  is  over,  moved  oflF  again  to  a  little  distance  from  the  shore. 
•The  meridian  altitude  of  the  sun  gave  the  latitude  of  this  station  74°  36'  06", 
and  the  longitude  by  the  chronometers  was  111°  16' 39". 

At  noon  the  heavy  floe  at  the  point  near  us  began  to  quit  the  land,  and 
at  half-past  one  P.M.,  there  being  a  narrow  passage  between  them,  the 
breadth  of  which  the  breeze  was  constantly  increasing,  we  cast  off  and 
stretched  to  the  westward.  The  channel  which  opened  to  us  as  we  pro- 
ceeded, varied  in  its  general  breadth  from  one  to  two  miles ;  in  some  places 
it  was  not  more  than  half  a  mile.  The  soundings  were  very  regular,  and 
sufficiently  deep  close  to  the  shore ;  in  one  place  we  found  twenty-three 
fathoms  at  one  hundred  yards  from  the  beach,  in  another  fourteen  at  sixty 
or  seventy  yards.  At  seven  P.M.,  we  passed  the  place  where  we  had  been 
detained  so  long  during  the  preceding  September,  and  where  Mr.  Fife  and 
his  party  had  been  lost.  We  here  seemed  to  be  among  our  old  acquaintance  ; 
and  among  these,  the  berg  to  which  we  had  been  anchored  during  so  many 
days  of  anxiety  and  fruitless  labour  was  easily  recognised,  as  well  as  the  pile  of 
stones  which  had  been  erected  on  the  hill  above  it.  The  wind  was  variable 
and  squally,  but  we  made  great  progress  along  the  land  to  the  S.W.b.W.,  and 
the  Griper,  by  keeping  up  tolerably  with  the  Hecla,  in  some  measure  re- 
deemed her  character  with  us.  Having  arrived  off'  Cape  Providence  at  eleven 
P.M.,  the  wind  became  light  and  baffling,  so  that  we  had  just  got  far  enough 
to  see  that  there  was  a  free  and  open  channel,  beyond  the  westernmost 
point  visible  of  Melville  Island,  when  our  progress  was  almost  entirely 
stopped  for  want  of  a  breeze  to  enable  us  to  take  advantage  of  it.  The 
anxiety  which  such  a  detention  occasions,  in  a  sea  where,  without  any  ap- 
parent cause,  the  ice  frequently  closes  the  shore  in  the  most  sudden  manner, 
can  perhaps  only  be  conceived  by  those  who  have  experienced  it.  We  had 
now,  also,  arrived  off"  that  part  of  the  coast  which,  from  Cape  Providence 
westward,  is  high  and  steep  near  the  sea,  having  no  beach  or  shelving  shore 
on  which  the  heavy  masses  of  ice  can  fix  themselves,  so  as  to  afford  security 
to  a  ship  when  the  floes  approach  the  land,  which  circumstance  increased 
the  anxiety  we  felt  to  push  on,  while  the  present  opportunity  offered^ 
^ith  all  rapidity  to  the  westward.  We  remarked,  in  sailing  near  the  ice 
this    evening,  while  the  wind   was  blowing  a  fresh  breeze  off   the  land, 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  233 

and  therefore  directly  towards  the  ice,  that  it  remained  constantly  calm  1820. 
within  three  or  four  hundred  yards  of  the  latter ;  this  effect  I  never  remember  ^^^I!^' 
to  have  witnessed  before,  upon  the  windward  side  of  any  collection  of  ice, 
though  it  invariably  happens  in  a  remarkable  degree  to  leeward  of  it.  I  may 
here  mention,  as  a  striking  proof  of  the  accuracy  with  which  astronomical 
bearings  of  objects  may  be  taken  for  marine  surveys,  that  the  relative  bearing 
of  Capes  Providence  and  Hay,  as  obtained  this  evening  when  the  two  head- 
lands were  opening,  (being  s.}  82°  38'{w,,)  differed  only  one  minute  from 
that  entered  in  the  surveying-book,  and  found  in  the  same  manner,  the  pre- 
ceding year. 

We  had  this  evening  occasion  to  observe  once  more  that  darkness  in  the 
horizon  to  the  southward,  and  as  far  as  a  S.S.W.  bearing,  which  had  been 
noticed  from  this  station  in  1819,  and  more  frequently  since  that  time,  during 
our  detention  in  Winter  Harbour,  as  bearing  a  great  resemblance  to  the  loom 
of  land  in  that  quarter.  We  were  the  more  inclined  to  the  belief  that  there 
was  land  at  no  very  great  distance  to  the  southward,  from  the  conviction  that 
there  must  be  something  which  prevented  the  ice  being  drifted  off  the  shore 
of  Melville  Islarfd  in  this  place  more  than  five  or  six  miles,  with  any  direction 
or  force  of  wind. 

There  was  a  very  light  air  on  the  morning  of  the  5th,  which  died  away  an  Sat.  5. 
hour  before  noon,  when  the  opportunity  was  taken  to  bring  up  some  Avater 
from  the  depth  of  one  hundred  and  five  fathoms.  Its  temperature  on  coming 
to  the  surface  was  32°,  that  of  the  surface  water  being  31°^,  and  of  the  air  34i°. 
The  depth  of  water  here  was  two  hundred  and  twenty-five  fathoms,  on  a 
bottom  of  dark  brown  clay,  at  the  distance  of  four  miles  from  the  land ;  the 
latitude  observed  being  74°  21'  49",  and  the  longitude  by  chronometers 
112°  48' 18". 

At  one  P.M.,  the  weather  continuing  quite  calm,  and  being  desirous  of 
examining  the  ice  in-shore,  that  we  might  be  ready  for  the  floes  closing 
upon  us,  1  left  the  ship,  accompanied  by  Captain  Sabine  and  Mr.  Edwards, 
and  landed  near  one  of  the  numerous  deep  and  broad  ravines,  with  which 
the  whole  of  this  part  of  the  island  is  indented.  All  the  ice  which  was  here 
fixed  to  the  ground  was  literally  upon  the  beach,  with  very  deep  water  close 
alongside  of  it,  and  none  of  the  masses  projected  to  a  sufficient  distance 
from  the  shore,  to  afford  the  smallest  shelter  to  the  ships  in  case  of  accidents. 
We  saw  several  white  hares  here,  and  on  this  and  many  subsequent  occasions 
found  them  frequent  the  sides  of  the  high  banks  which  face  the  south,  and 


234  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  where  there  is  usually  a  plentiful  vegetation  for  them  to  feed  upon.  We 
v.*^-s^'  were  ascending  the  hill,  which  was  found  by  trigonometrical  measurement 
to  be  eight  hundred  and  forty-seven  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  on 
which  Ave  found  no  mineral  production  but  sandstone  and  clay  iron-stone, 
when  a  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  eastward,  bringing  up  the  Griper  Avhich 
had  been  left  several  miles  astern.  We  only  stopped,  therefore,  to  obtain 
observations  for  the  longitude  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  ;  the 
former  of  which  was  112°  53'  32",  and  the  latter  110°  56'  11"  Easterly,  and 
then  immediately  returned  on  board,  and  made  all  sail  to  the  westward. 
After  running  for  two  hours  without  obstruction,  we  were  once  more  mortified 
in  perceiving  that  the  ice,  in  very  extensive  and  unusually  heavy  floes,  closed 
in  with  the  land  a  little  to  the  westward  of  Cape  Hay,  and  our  channel  of 
clear  water  between  the  ice  and  the  land  gradually  diminished  in  breadth 
till  at  length  it  became  necessary  to  take  in  the  studding  sails,  and  to  haul 
to  the  wind,  to  look  about  us.  I  immediately  left  the  ship,  and  went  in  a 
boat  to  examine  the  grounded  ice  off  a  small  point  of  land,  such  as  always 
occurs  on  this  coast  at  the  outlet  of  each  ravine.  I  found  that  this  point 
offered  the  only  possible  shelter  which  could  be  obtained,  in  case  of  the  ice 
coming  in ;  and  I,  tlierefore,  determined  to  take  the  Hecla  in-shore  immedi- 
ately, and  to  pick  out  the  best  birth  which  circumstances  would  admit.  As  I 
was  returning  on  board  with  this  intention  I  found  that  the  ice  was  already 
rapidly  approaching  the  shore  ;  no  time  was  to  be  lost,  therefore,  in  getting 
the  Hecla  to  her  intended  station,  which  was  effected  by  half-past  eight  P.M., 
being  in  nine  to  seven  fathoms  water,  at  the  distance  of  twenty  yards  from 
the  beach,  which  was  lined  all  round  the  point  with  very  heavy  masses 
of  ice,  that  had  been  forced  by  some  tremendous  pressure  into  the  ground. 
Our  situation  was  a  dangerous  one,  having  no  shelter  from  ice  coming 
from  the  westward,  the  whole  of  which,  being  distant  from  us  less  than  half 
a  mile,  was  composed  of  floes  infinitely  more  heavy  than  any  we  had  else- 
where met  with  during  the  voyage.  The  Griper  was  three  or  four  miles 
astern  of  us  at  the  time  the  ice  began  to  close,  and  I  therefore  directed 
Lieutenant  Liddon  by  signal  to  secure  his  ship  in  the  best  manner  he  could, 
without  a,ttempting  to  join  the  Hecla ;  he  accordingly  made  her  fast  at 
eleven  P.M.,  near  a  point  like  that  at  which  we  were  lying,  and  two  or  three 
miles  to  the  eastward. 

At  the  time  of  making  the  Hecla  fast,  a  currejit  was  setting  to  the  west- 
ward, at  the  rate  of  a  mile  and  a  half  an  hour,  with  a  strong  eddy  running 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  235 

into  the  bight  where  we  lay;  at  ten  P.M.  it  took  a  sudden  turn,  all  the  loose  1820. 
ice  near  us  running  past  the  ship  out  of  the  bight,  and  the  floes  outside  ■'^"S"*'^- 
beginning  to  set  to  the  eastward,  and  towards  the  land  withal.  We,  therefore, 
hauled  the  ship  still  more  into  the  bight  formed  by  the  point,  getting  her  into 
four  fathoms  abaft  and  six  forward,  and  abreast  a  part  of  the  beach  where  there 
was  not  quite  so  much  heavy  ice  within  us,  to  endanger  the  ship  being 
crushed.  This  was  done  from  a  belief  that,  if  the  floes  came  in,  the  ship 
must  inevitably  be  "  nipped,"  and  in  this  case  it  was  better  to  be  lying  in 
six  fathoms  than  nine ;  besides,  the  masses  of  ice  now  inside  of  us,  not 
being  so  large  as  the  rest,  might  possibly  be  forced  up  on  the  shore  before 
the  ship,  instead  of  offering  so  great  a  resistance  as  to  expose  her  to  all  the 
force  of  the  squeeze.  On  the  whole  of  this  steep  coast,  wherever  we 
approached  the  shore,  we  found  a  thick  stratum  of  blue  and  solid  ice,  firmly 
embedded  in  the  beach,  at  the  depth  of  from  six  to  ten  feet  under  the  surface 
of  the  water.  This  ice  has  probably  been  the  lower  part  of  heavy  masses 
forced  aground  by  the  pressure  of  the  floes  from  without,  and  still  adhering 
to  the  viscous  mud  of  which  the  beach  is  composed,  after  the  upper  part  has, 
in  course  of  time,  dissolved.  Captain  Sabine  suggested,  that  the  under- 
ground ice  found  in  cold  countries,  and  to  which  I  have  before  alluded,  might 
thus  have  been  deposited.  The  land  gains  upon  the  sea,  as  it  is  called,  in 
process  of  time,  as  it  has  certainly  done  here,  from  the  situation  in  which  we 
found  drift-wood  and  the  skeletons  of  whales :  the  ice  which  fixes  itself  upon 
the  beach  is  annually  covered  over  in  part  by  alluvial  deposit,  and  thus  may 
a  connected  stratum  of  it  be  buried  for  ages  several  feet  below  the  surface  of 
the  earth.  From  the  tops  of  the  hills  in  this  part  of  Melville  Island  a  conti- 
nuous line  of  this  sub-marine  ice  could  be  distinctly  traced  for  miles  along 
the  coast. 

In  running  along  the  shore  this  evening,  we  had  noticed  near  the  sea  what 
at  a  distance  had  every  appearance  of  a  high  wall  artificially  built,  and  which 
was  the  resort  of  numerous  birds.  Captain  Sabine,  being  desirous  to  examine 
it,  as  well  as  to  procure  some  specimens  of  the  birds,  set  out,  as  soon  as  we 
anchored,  for  that  purpose,  accompanied  by  his  servant  and  Serjeant  Martin. 
The  wall  proved  to  be  composed  of  sand-stone  in  horizontal  strata  from 
twenty  to  thiily  feet  in  height,  which  had  been  left  standing,  so  as  to  exhibit 
its  present  artificial  appearance,  by  the  decomposition  of  the  rock  and  earth 
about  it.  Large  flocks  of  glaucous  gulls  had  chosen  this  as  a  secure  retreat 
from  the  foxes,  and  every  other  enemy  but  man ;  and  when  our  people  first 


236  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1S20.    went  into  the  ravine  in  which  it  stands,  they  were  so  fierce  in  defence  of 
^^i^!i^"  their  young,  that  it  was  scarcely  safe  to  approach  them  till  a  few  shots  had 

been  fired. 
Sun.  6.       Besides  a  number  of  gulls,  Captain  Sabine  and  his  party  brought  with 
them  ten  hares,  which,  together  with  what  we  had  obtained  as  we  came 
along  the  land,  furnished  us  with  a  fresh  meal  for  the  whole  crew.     Captain 
Sabine  also  brought  me  word  from  Lieutenant  Liddon  that  the  Griper  was  in 
a  situation  exactly  similar  to  that  of  the  Hecla,  where  "  nipping"  appeared 
unavoidable  if  the  floes  should  come  in.     The  ice  remained  quiet,  however, 
about  the   Hecla  during  the  day,   even  though  a  strong  breeze  freshened 
up  from  the  E.S.E.,  with  continued  snow;  a  circumstance  which,  while  it 
added  to  our  present  security,  did  not  give  us  very  flattering  hopes  that  there 
could  be  any  room  for  the  ice  to  drift  to  the  westward.     In  the  course  of  the 
evening  I  heard  again  from  the  Griper,  Lieutenant  Liddon  informing  me  that 
the  floes  had  once  come   in  towards  her,  so  as  to  lift  her  two  feet  out  of 
the  water,    and  then  retired  without  doing   any    damage.      I  acquainted 
Lieutenant  Liddon  with  the  similarity  of  our  situation  to   his,  and  desired 
him  not  to  join  us  at  present,  even  should  the  ice  open  sufficiently  to  allow 
him  to  do  so ;  for  there  was  not  room  for  the  two  ships  where  the  Hecla  was 
lying,  and  the  chances  of  saving  one  of  them  from  the  catastrophe  we  had 
reason  to  apprehend,  were  greater  by  their  being  separate.     At  eleven  P.M.  a 
narrow  Ian*  of  water  opened  near  the  Griper,  extending  about  three  miles  to 
the  S.S.W. ;  near  us  it  had  also  slackened  a  little  about  midnight,  but  it  would 
have  been  difficult  to  find  a  "  hole"  of  water  in  which  a  boat  could  have  floated, 
more  than  three  hundred  yards  beyond  the  ship. 
Mon.  7.      On  the  morning  of  the  7th,  a  black  whale  (Balcena  Mysticetus),  came  up,, 
close  to  the  Hecla,  being  the  first  we  had  seen  since  the  22d  of  August  theJ 
preceding  year,  about  the  longitude  of  91°|  W. ;  it  therefore  acquired  among, 
us  the  distinctive  appellation  of  th&  whale.     Since  leaving  Winter  Harbourjt 
we  had  also,  on  two  or  three  occasions,  seen  a  solitary  seal.     The  wind  con-.^ 
tinned  fresh  from  the  east  and  E.N.E.  in  the  morning,  and  the  loose  ice  came  ■ 
close  in  upon  us,  but  the  main  body  remained  stationary  at  the  distance  of 
nearly  half  a  mile.     Considering  that  it  might  be  of  service  to  know  theii 
state  of  the  ice  further  to  the  south  and  west  than  the  view  from  the  Hecla'S( 
mast-head  would  allow  us,  I   despatched   Lieutenant  Beechey  with   oneij 
of  the  marines,   along  the  top   of  the  hills  to  the  westward,  for  that  pur-'j 
pose.     At  two  P.M.,  he  returned  with  a  fawn,  which  gave  us  thirty-eightjj 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  237 

pounds  of  venison,  and  with  the  information  of  having  discovered  land  from  1820. 
W.S.W.  to  S.S.W.  at  a  great  distance,  and  the  loom  of  it  also  extending  as  ■^)^!i^' 
far  round  to  the  eastward  as  a  S.E.  bearing.  Lieutenant  Beechey  con- 
sidered the  general  distance  of  the  land  to  be  from  forty  to  fifty  miles,  the 
nearest  being  about  a  S.S.W.  bearing,  and  three  capes  could  be  plainly  dis- 
tinguished with  a  glass.  The  report  of  the  state  of  the  ice  was  by  no  means 
favourable  to  our  hopes,  the  sea  being  covered  with  floes  as  far  as  the  eye 
could  reach,  and  the  space  between  them  so  filled  with  broken  ice,  or  the 
floes  so  closely  joined,  that  scarcely  a  "  hole"  of  water  was  to  be  seen. 

In  the  afternoon,  a  man  from  each  mess  was  sent  on  shore  to  pick  sorrel, 
which  was  here  remarkably  fine  and  large,  as  well  as  more  acid  than  any  we 
had  lately  met  with.  The  shelter  from  the  northerly  winds,  afforded  by  the 
high  land  on  this  part  of  the  coast,  together  with  its  southern  aspect,  renders 
the  vegetation  here  immediately  next  the  sea  much  more  luxuriant  than  in 
most  parts  of  Melville  Island  which  we  visited ;  and  a  considerable  addition 
was  made  to  our  collection  of  plants,  of  which  an  account  is  given  in 
another  place. 

The  easterly  breeze  died  away  in  the  course  of  the  day,  and  at  three 
P.M.,  was  succeeded  by  a  light  air  from  the  opposite  quarter;  and  as  this 
freshened  up  a  little,  the  loose  ice  began  to  drift  into  our  bight,  and 
that  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  point  to  drive  off.  It  became  expedient, 
therefore,  immediately  to  shift  the  ship  round  the  point,  where  she  was  made 
fast  in  four  fathoms  abaft,  and  seventeen  feet  forward,  close  alongside  the 
usual  ledge  of  submarine  ice,  which  touched  her  about  seven  feet  under 
water,  and  which,  having  few  of  the  heavy  masses  aground  upon  it, 
would,  probably,  have  allowed  her  to  be  pushed  over  it,  had  a  heavy 
pressure  occurred  from  without.  It  was  the  more  necessary  to  moor  the  ship 
in  some  such  situation,  as  we  found  from  six  to  seven  fathoms'  water,  by 
dropping  the  hand-lead  down  close  to  her  bow  and  quarter  on  the  outer 
side. 

We  had  scarcely  secured  the  ship,  when  the  wind  once  more  shifted  to  ' 
the  eastward,  and  the  loose  ice  almost  immediately  began  to  move  back  in 
the  opposite  direction.  The  wind  being,  however,  rather  off  the  land  than 
otherwise,  I  preferred  remaining  in  our  present  situation,  on  account  of 
tlie  safer  beach  which  we  found  here ;  and  a&  there  was,  in  other  respects, 
\ht\e  or  no  choice  betwixt  the  two  places,  unless  the  wind  came  more  on  the 
land.  At  half-past  ten  P.M.,  the  loose  ice  began  to  fill  up  the  small  space  which 


238  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

had  hitherto  been  clear  about  the  ship,  although  the  wind  was  at  N.E., 
which  is  more  off  the  land  than  we  had  before  experienced  it.  Several 
heavy  pieces  of  floes  drove  close  past  us,  not  less  than  ten  or  fifteen  feet  in 
thickness,  but  they  were  fortunately  stopped  by  the  point  of  land  without 
coming  in  upon  us.  At  eleven  o'clock,  however,  a  mass  of  this  kind, 
being  about  half  an  acre  in  extent,  drove  in,  and  gave  the  ship  a  consider- 
able "  nip"  between  it  and  the  land-ice,  and  then  grazed  past  her  to  the 
westward.  I  now  directed  the  rudder  to  be  unhung,  and  the  ship  to  be 
swung  with  her  head  to  the  eastward,  so  that  the  bow,  being  the  strongest 
part,  might  receive  the  first  and  heaviest  pressure. 
Tues.  8.  The  ice  did  not  disturb  us  again  till  five  A.M.  on  the  8th,  when  another 
floe-piece  came  in,  and  gave  the  ship  a  heavy  rub,  and  then  went  past,  after 
which  it  continued  slack  about  us  for  several  hours.  Every  thing  was  so 
quiet  at  nine  o'clock,  as  to  induce  me  to  venture  up  the  hill  abreast  of  us, 
in  order  to  have  a  view  of  the  newly-discovered  land  to  the  south-west, 
which,  indeed,  I  had  seen  indistinctly  and  much  refracted  from  the  Hecla's 
deck  in  the  morning.  The  weather  being  rather  unfavourable,  I  had  not  so 
dear  a  view  as  Lieutenant  Beechey,  but  I  distinctly  saw  high  and  bold  land 
from  S.  75°  W.  to  S.  30°  W.,  the  part  most  plainly  visible,  and  appearing 
the  nearest,  being  at  a  S.  55°  W.  bearing.  The  general  distance  of  this 
land,  I  considered  to  be  somewhat  greater  than  that  at  which  Lieutenant 
Beechey  had  estimated  it,  and  it  is  placed  on  the  chart  at  from  sixteen  to 
eighteen  leagues  from  the  station  at  which  the  ships  were  lying.  This  land, 
which  extends  beyond  the  117th  degree  of  west  longitude,  and  is  the 
most  western  yet  discovered  in  the  Polar  Sea,  to  the  northward  of  the 
American  Continent,  was  honoured  with  the  name  of  Banks's  Land,  out  of 
respect  to  the  late  venerable  and  worthy  President  of  the  Royal  Society, 
whose  long  life  was  actively  engaged  in  the  encouragement  and  promotion  of 
discovery  and  general  science. 

The  loom  of  land  was  frequently  seen  as  far  as  a  south-east  bearing  from 
the  present  station  of  the  ships,  which  corresponds  with  the  appearances 
often  observed  during  our  stay  in  Winter  Harbour ;  as  I  have  scarcely  a 
doubt,  therefore,  that  this  forms  a  continuation  of  Banks's  Land,  which  is, 
in  all  probability,  another  island  of  the  North  Georgian  group,  I  have 
marked  it  on  the  chart  by  an  unshaded  line  as  far  as  the  above  bearing. 
-From  the  top  of  the  hill,  not  a  "hole"  could  be  seen  in  the  ice  in  any 
direction ;  the  wind  being  extremely  variable  during  the  day,   kept  us  in 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  239 

a  constant  state  of  anxiety,  lest  the  ice  should  come  in,  but  it  gave  us  no  1820. 
disturbance.  A  few  hares  were  brought  in  by  our  sportsmen,  and  a  dovekey  J^^' 
was  seen,  being  the  first  for  this  season. 

On  the  morning  of  the  9th,  a  musk-ox  came  down  to  graze  on  the  beach,  Wed.  9. 
near  the  ships.  A  party  was  despatched  in  pursuit,  and  having  hemmed  him 
in  under  the  hill,  which  was  too  steep  for  him  to  ascend,  succeeded  in  killing 
him.  When  first  brought  on  board,  the  inside  of  this  animal,  which  was  a 
male,  smelt  very  strongly  of  musk,  of  which  the  whole  of  the  meat  also 
tasted,  more  or  less,  and  especially  the  heart.  A  description  of  this  animal 
being  given  in  the  Appendix.  I  shall  only  add  respecting  it,  that  it  furnished 
us  with  four  hundred  and  twenty-one  pounds  of  beef,  which  was  served 
to  the  crews  as  usual,  in  lieu  of  their  salt  provisions,  and  Avas  very  much 
relished  by  us,  notwithstanding  the  peculiarity  of  its  flavour*.  The  meat  was 
remarkably  fat,  and,  as  it  hung  up  in  quarters,  looked  as  fine  as  any  beef  in 
an  English  market.  A  small  seal,  (Phoca  Vitulina),  killed  by  the  Griper's 
people,  was  also  eaten  by  them;  and.it  was  generally  allowed  to  be  very 
tender  and  palatable,  though  not  very  sightly  in  its  appearance,  being  of  a 
disagreeable  red  colour. 

In  the  morning-watch,  a  breeze  sprung  up  from  the  Avestward,  which  we 
were  always  ready  to  welcome,  having  found  that  it  invariably  seized  to  open 
the  ice,  while  an  easterly  wind  as  constantly  made  it  closer.  This  was, 
however,  of  short  duration,  being  succeeded  soon  after  noon  by  a  light  air 
from  the  south-east,  which  brought  all  the  loose  ice  into  our  bight.  At  half- 
past  three  P.M.,  a  large  piece  of  a  very  heavy  floe  came  close  to  us,  and 
would  have  given  us  a  "  nip"  against  the  shore,  had  we  not  avoided  it  by 
heaving  the  ship  a  few  yards  a-head  in  good  time.  It  was  then  brought  up  by 
the  point  of  land,  and  remained  quietly  half  a  cable's  length  astern  of  us,  there 
not  being  room  for  it  to  drift  farther  to  the  westward  between  the  point  and  an 
enormous  floe  which  blocked  up  the  passage  to  the  southward  and  westward. 

At  ten  P.M.,  the  whole  body  of  ice  which  was  then  a  quarter  of  a  mile  from 
us,  was  found  to  be  drifting  in  upon  the  land,  and  the  ship  was  warped  back 
a  little  way  to  the  westward,  towards  that  part  of  the  shore,  which  was 
most  favourable  for  allowing  her  to  be  forced  up  on  the  beach.     At  eleven 

*  Some  pieces  of  this  meat,  which  we  brought  to  England,  were  found  to  have  acquired 
a  much  more  disagreeable  flavour  than  when  first  killed,  though  they  had  not  undergone 
putrefaction  in  the  slightest  degree. 


240  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  o'clock,  the  piece  of  a  floe,  which  came  near  us  in  the  afternoon,  and  which 
t)i^^'  had  since  drifted  back  a  few  hundred  yards  to  the  eastward,  received  the 
pressure  of  the  whole  body  of  ice,  as  it  came  in.  It  split  across  in  various 
directions,  with  a  considerable  crash,  and  presently  after  we  saw  a  part, 
several  hundred  tons  in  weight,  raised  slowly  and  majestically,  as  if  by  the 
application  of  a  screw,  and  deposited  on  another  part  of  the  floe  from  which 
it  had  broken,  presenting  towards  us  the  surface  that  had  split,  which  was  of 
a  fine  blue  colour,  and  very  solid  and  transparent.  The  violence  with  which 
the  ice  was  coming  in  being  thus  broken,  it  remained  quiet  during  the 
night,  which  was  calm,  with  a  heavy  fall  of  snow. 
Thur.  10.  The  mass  of  ice  which  had  been  lifted  up  the  preceding  day,  being  drifted 
close  to  us  on  the  morning  of  the  10th,  I  sent  Lieutenant  Beechey  to  measure 
its  thickness,  which  proved  to  be  forty-two  feet ;  and,  as  it  was  a  piece  of  a 
regular  floe,  this  measurement  may  serve  to  give  some  idea  of  the  general  thick- 
ness of  the  ice  in  this  neighbourhood.  There  were  some,  however,  which  were 
of  much  larger  dimensions ;  an  immense  floe  which  formed  the  principal,  or 
at  least  the  nearest,  obstruction  to  the  westward,  was  covered  with  large 
hummocks,  giving  to  its  upper  surface  the  appearance  of  hill  and  dale,  some- 
what in  this  manner : 


The  thickness  of  this  floe  at  its  nearest  edge  was  six  or  seven  feet  above  the 
sea,  and  as  about  six-sevenths  are  usually  immersed,  the  whole  thickness 
would  appear,  in  the  common  way  of  reckoning  it,  to  have  been  from  forty 
to  fifty  feet,  which  corresponds  with  that  actually  measured  by  Lieutenant 
Beechey.  But  the  hummocks  were  many  of  them  at  least  from  fifteen  to 
twenty-five  feet  above  the  sea;  so  that  the  solidity  and  thickness  of  this 
enormous  floe  must  have  been  infinitely  greater  than  any  thing  we  had  seen 
before.  It  was  the  opinion  of  Lieutenant  Beechey,  and  of  Messrs.  Allison 
and  Fife,  that  it  very  much  resembled  the  ice  met  with  at  Spitzbergen ; 
but,  according  to  the  account  of  the  two  latter,  was  much  heavier  than 
any  which  they  had  seen  there ;  Lieutenant  Beechey  considered  that 
there  was  much  more  snow  upon  the  surface  of  the  Spitzbergen  ice.  It 
is  here  of  some  importance  to  notice,  that  the  "  loose  ice"  in  this  neigh- 
bourhood was  on  the  same  increased  scale  as  the  floes,  so  that  the  danger 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  241 

to  be  apprehended  from  the  violent  contact  of  one  of  these  pieces  was  1820. 
little  less  than  that  from  a  floe  of  ordinary  size,  such  as  occurs  in  Baffin's  Ji^' 
Bay.  This  circumstance,  also,  very  materially  altered  the  character  of  the 
navigation  on  that  part  of  the  coast,  for  the  loose  pieces  being  most  of 
them  of  infinitely  greater  bulk  and  weight  in  the  water  than  either  of  our  ships, 
the  latter  could  no  longer  turn  them  out  of  their  way,  as  usual,  in  sailing 
among  this  kind  of  ice,  but  were  invariably  stopped  short  in  their  progress, 
with  a  violent  concussion,  which  nothing  but  their  extraordinary  strength 
could  have  enabled  them  to  withstand. 

It  noAV  became  evident,  from  the  combined  experience  of  this  and  the  pre- 
ceding year,  that  there  was  something  peculiar  about  the  south-west  extremity 
of  Melville  Island,  which  made  the  icy  sea  there  extremely  unfavourable  to 
navigation,  and  which  seemed  likely  to  bid  defiance  to  all  our  efforts  to 
proceed  much  farther  to  the  westward  in  this  parallel  of  latitude.  We  had 
arrived  off  it  on  the  17th  of  September,  1819,  after  long  and  heavy  gales 
from  the  north-westward,  by  which  alone  the  ice  is  ever  opened  on  this 
coast,  and  found  it,  in  unusually  heavy  and  extensive  fields,  completely 
closing  in  with  the  land,  a  mile  or  two  to  the  eastward  of  where  we  were 
now  lying.  We  again  arrived  here  in  the  early  part  of  August,  and  though 
the  rest  of  the  navigation  had  been  remarkably  clear  for  the  fifty  miles 
between  this  and  Winter  Harbour,  seeming  to  afford  a  presumptive  proof, 
that  the  season  was  rather  a  favourable  one  than  otherwise,  the  same  ob- 
struction presented  itself  as  before  ;  nor  did  there  appear,  from  our  late 
experience,  a  reasonable  ground  of  hope,  that  any  fortuitous  circum- 
stance, such  as  an  alteration  in  winds  or  currents,  was  likely  to  remove 
the  formidable  impediments  which  we  had  now  to  encounter.  The  in- 
creased dimensions  of  the  ice  hereabouts  would  not  alone  have  created  an 
insurmountable  difficulty  in  the  navigation,  but  that  it  was  very  naturally 
accompanied  by  a  decree  of  closeness  which  seldom  or  never  admitted 
an  open  space  of  clear  water  of  sufficient  size  for  a  ship,  or  even  a  boat,  to 
sail  in.  We  had  been  lying  near  our  present  station  with  an  easterly  wind 
blowing  fresh  for  thirty-six  hours  together;  and  although  this  was  consi- 
derably oflFthe  land,  beyond  the  western  point  of  the  island  now  in  sight,  the 
ice  had  not,  during  the  whole  of  that  time,  moved  a  single  yard  from  the 
shore  ;  affording  a  proof  that  there  was  no  space  in  which  the  ice  was  at  liberty 
to  move  to  the  westward,  and  offering  a  single  and  a  striking  exception  to  our 
former  experience. 


242  ^  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  Under  these  circumstances,  I  began  to  consider  whether  it  would  not  be 
"^IJ^'  advisable,  whenever  the  ice  would  allow  us  to  move,  to  sacrifice  a  few  miles 
of  the  westing  we  had  already  made,  and  to  run  along  the  margin  of  the 
floes,  in  order  to  endeavour  to  find  an  opening  leading  to  the  southward,  by 
taking  advantage  of  which  we  might  be  enabled  to  prosecute  the  voyage  to 
the  westward  in  a  lower  latitude.  I  was  the  more  inclined  to  make  this 
attempt,  from  its  having  long  become  evident  to  us,  that  the  navigation  of  this 
part  of  the  Polar  Sea  is  only  to  be  performed  by  watching  the  occasional 
openings  between  the  ice  and  the  shore ;  and  that,  therefore,  a  continuity  of 
land  is  essential,  if  not  absolutely  necessary,  for  this  purpose.  Such  a  con- 
tinuity of  land,  which  was  here  about  to  fail  us,  must  necessarily  be  furnished 
by  the  northern  coast  of  America,  in  whatsoever  latitude  it  may  be  found ; 
and,  as  a  large  portion  of  our  short  season  had  already  been  occupied  in 
fruitless  attempts  to  penetrate  further  to  the  westward  in  our  present  parallel, 
under  circumstances  of  more  than  ordinary  risk  to  the  ships,  I  determined, 
whenever  the  ice  should  open  sufficiently,  to  put  into  execution  the  plan  I  had 
proposed. 

The  westerly  wind  cleared  us  by  slow  degrees  of  the  loose  masses  of  ice 
about  the  ship,  and  in  the  afternoon  the  main  body  went  off  about  three 
hundred  yards,  drifting  also  a  little  to  the  eastward.  It  may  always  be 
expected,  in  icy  seas,  that  a  breeze  of  wind,  however  light,  will  set  the  ice 
in  motion,  if  there  be  any  room  for  it  to  move;  in  such 'cases,  the  smaller 
pieces  of  course  begin  to  drift  the  first,  and  the  heavier  ones  soon  follow, 
though  at  a  slower  rate :  among  loose  ice,-  therefore,  almost  every  separate 
piece  is  seen  to  move  with  a  different  velocity,  proportioned  to  its  depth 
under  water. 

Having  gone  on  shore  in  the  evening  to  make  some  observations  for  the 
variation,  I  afterwards  ascended  the  hill,  in  order  to  take  a  view  of  the  state 
of  the  ice  in  the  offing.  The  breeze  had  now  begun  to  open  several  "  holes," 
particularly  in  the  west  and  south-east  quarters ;  it  was  most  loose  in  the 
latter  direction,  except  close  along  the  land  to  the  eastward,  where  a  ship 
might  possibly  have  been  got,  had  this  been  our  immediate  object.  The  ice, 
however,  looked  just  as  promising  to  the  westward  as  in  any  other  quarter, 
and  I  found,  before  I  returned  on  board,  that  it  continued  to  drift  to  the 
eastward,  and  to  leave  more  and  more  space  of  clear  water  in  the  required 
direction.  I,  therefore,  communicated  to  Lieutenant  Liddon  my  intention  of 
pushing  on  to  the  westward  the  instant  the  sea  became  clear  enough  for  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  243 

ships  to  make  any  progress  with  a  beating  wind;  but,  in  the  event  of  failing    1820. 
to  do  so,  that  I  should  next  try  what  could  be  done  by  attempting  a  passage   Ji^^' 
considerably  to  the  southward  of  our  present  parallel. 

At  seven  P.M.,  we  shipped  the  rudder,  and  crossed  the  top-gallant  yards, 
in  readiness  for  moving ;  and  I  then  again  ascended  the  hill,  and  walked  a 
mile  to  the  westward,  along  the  brow  of  it,  that  not  a  moment  might  be  lost, 
after  the  ice  to  the  westward  should  give  us  the  slightest  hope  of  making  any 
progress  by  getting  under-way.  Although  the  holes  had  certainly  increased 
in  size  and  extent,  there  was  still  not  sufficient  room  even  for  one  of  our 
boats  to  have  worked  to  windward  ;  and  the  impossibility  of  the  ships'  doing  so 
wa&  rendered  more  apparent,  on  account  of  the  current  which,  as  I  have  before 
had  occasion  to  remark,  is  always  produced  in  these  seas,  soon  after  the 
springing  up  of  a  breeze,  and  which  was  now  running  to  the  eastward,  at 
the  rate  of  at  least  one  mile  per  hour.  It  was  evident,  that  any  attempt  to 
get  the  ships  to  the  westward  must,  under  circumstances  so  unfavourable,  be 
attended  with  the  certain  consequence  of  their  being  drifted  the  contrary 
way  ;  and  nothing  could,  therefore,  be  done  but  still  to  watch,  which  we  did 
most  anxiously,  every  alteration  in  the  state  of  the  ice.  The  wind,  how- 
ever, decreasing  as  the  night  came  on,  served  to  diminish  the  hopes  with 
which  we  had  flattered  ourselves  of  being  speedily  extricated  from  our 
present  confined  and  dangerous  situation.  At  half-past  ten  P.M.,  Lieutenant 
Beechey,  at  my  request,  ascended  the  hill ;  and,  on  his  return  at  eleven 
o'clock,  reported  that,  "  the  ice  was  slack  from  W.b.N.  to  W.S.W.,  but  that, 
without  a  leading  wind,  it  did  not  appear  tlrnt  a  ship  could  make  any  way 
among  it." 

At  one  A.M.,  on  the  11th,  I  despatched  Mr.  Ross  to  the  top  of  the  hill,  Frid.ll. 
from  whence  he  observed,  that  "  the  ice  had  slackened  considerably  from 
W.b.S.  to  south,  but  was  still  too  close  for  a  ship  to  work  among  it."  At  this 
time  the  wind  was  dying  away  gradually ;  and,  at  four  A.M.,  when  Mr.  Ross 
again  ascended  the  hill,  it  had  fallen  quite  calm.  The  ice  immediately 
ceased  to  drift  to  the  eastward,  and  at  half-past  five,  a  light  breeze  springing 
up  from  the  south-east,  caused  it  at  once  to  return  in  the  opposite  direction. 
Being  desirous,  if  possible,  to  take  advantage  of  this  breeze.  Lieutenant 
Beechey  and  myself  again  went  on  shore,  in  order  to  form  a  judgment 
whether  there  was  room  for  the  ships  to  sail  among  the  ice,  should  it  appear 
otherwise  expedient  to  get  them  under- Avay.  We  agreed  that  it  was  by  no 
means  practicable  with  the  present  light  wind,  which  would  scarcely  have 


24$  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  given  them  steerage-way,  even  in  a  clear  and  unincumbered  sea,  and  much 
Ji^il^'  less,  therefore,  could  have  enabled  them  to  force  their  way  through  the 
numberless  heavy  masses  which  lay  in  our  way  to  the  westward.  So  close, 
indeed,  did  the  ice  about  us  still  continue,  that  it  was  necessary  to  shift 
the  Hecla  once  more  round  to  the  westward  of  the  point  of  land,  to  secure 
her  from  that  which  the  change  of  wind  was  once  more  bringing  back  in 
great  abundance,  and  at  the  rate  of  nearly  a  mile  per  hour.  In  an  hour 
after  we  had  effected  this,  I  had  reason  to  be  satisfied  with  the  deter- 
mination to  which  I  had  come,  of  not  getting  the  ships  under- way,  for  there 
was  literally  not  a  single  "  hole"  of  open  water  visible  from  the  mast-head, 
in  which  a  boat  would  have  floated,  except  immediately  under  the  lee  of 
the  point  where  we  were  lying,  and  within  one  hundred  yards  of  the  ship. 

The  latitude  observed  at  our  present  station  was  74°  25'  35",  the  longitude, 
by  chronometers,  113°  43'  01",  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle, 
106°  06'  38"  Easterly,  each  of  these  being  the  mean  of  several  observations 
taken  on  different  days.  There  was  nothing  in  the  appearance  or  productions 
of  this  part  of  the  island  different  from  those  which  had  been  found  elsewhere, 
except  that  the  ravines  were  more  strikingly  grand  and  picturesque,  in  con- 
sequence of  the  greater  height  of  the  land  upon  this  part  of  the  coast :  this, 
as  I  have  before  remarked,  was  found,  in  one  instance,  to  exceed  eight 
hundred  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea ;  and  the  hills,  immediately  at  the 
back  of  this,  at  the  distance  of  nine  or  ten  miles,  appeared  to  be  at  least 
one  or  two  hundred  feet  higher;  so  that  the  extreme  height  of  Melville 
Island,  as  far  as  we  had  an  opportunity  of  seeing  it,  may,  perhaps,  be 
fairly  estimated  at  about  one  thousand  feet.  The  rocks  consisted  entirely  of 
sandstone  in  horizontal  strata,  and  the  soil  of  sand,  intermixed  occasionally 
-  with  decayed  plants,  forming  here  and  there  a  sort  of  vegetable  mould,  on 
Avhich  the  other  plants,  and  a  few  tufts  of  very  luxuriant  moss,  were 
growing:  we  remarked,  that  almost  the  whole  of  the  plants  had  a  part 
of  their  flowers  cropped  by  the  hares,  and  other  animals  which  are  fond 
of  feeding  in  the  sheltered  and  warm  situations  afforded  by  the  banks  next 
the  sea. 

The  weather  was  foggy  for  some  hours  in  the  morning,  but  cleared  up  in 
the  afternoon,  as  the  sun  acquired  power.  The  wind  increased  to  a  fresh 
gale  from  the  eastward,  at  nine  P.M.,  being  the  second  time  that  it  had  done 
so,  while  we  had  been  lying  at  this  station ;  a  circumstance  which  we  were 
the  more  inclined  to  notice,  as  the  easterly  winds  had  hitherto  been  more 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  245 

faint  and  less  frequent  than  those   from  the   westward.      In  this   respect,    1820. 
therefore,   we   considered  ourselves  unfortunate,  as  experience  had  already   Jl^^' 
shewn  us,  that  none  but  a  westerly  wind  ever  produced  upon  this   coast, 
or,  indeed,   on  the  southern  coast  of  any  of  the  North  Georgian  Islands,  the 
desired  effect  of  clearing  the  shores  of  ice. 

At  nine  P.M.,  Lieutenant  Beechey  could  discover  from  the  top  of  the  hill 
no  clear  water  in  any  direction.  After  ten  o'clock  the  wind  blew  much 
harder,  Avhich  obliged  us  to  strike  the  top-gallant  yards,  and  to  brace  the 
yards  to  the  wind ;  tlie  ice  had  by  this  time  ceased  moving  to  the  westward, 
having  apparently,  as  before,  reached  its  ne  plus  ultra  in  that  direction.  The 
electrometer  was  tried  in  the  course  of  the  evening,  in  the  usual  manner,  the 
sky  being  full  of  hard  dense  clouds,  and  the  wind  blowing  strong;  but  no 
sensible  effect  was  produced  upon  the  gold  leaf. 

The  gale  continued  strong  during  the  night,  and  the  ice  quite  stationary.  Sat.  12. 
Not  a  pool  of  clear  water  could  be  seen  in  any  direction,  except  just  under 
the  lee  of  our  point,  where  there  was  a  space  larg;e  enough  to  contain  half  a 
dozen  sail  of  ships,  till  about  noon,  when  the  whole  closed  in  upon  us  without 
any  apparent  cause,  except  that  the  wind  blew  in  irregular  puffs  about  that 
time,  and  at  one  P.M.  it  was  alongside.  The  ship  was  placed  in  the  most 
advantageous  manner  for  taking  the  beach,  or  rather  the  shelf  of  submarine 
ice,  and  the  rudder  again  unshipped  and  hung  across  the  stem.  Tlie  ice 
which  came  in  contact  with  the  ship's  side  consisted  of  very  heavy  loose 
pieces,  drawing  twelve  or  fourteen  feet  water,  which,  however,  we  considered 
as  good  "  fenders,"  comparatively  with  the  enormous  fields  which  covered 
the  sea  just  without  them.  So  much,  indeed,  do  we  judge  at  all  times  by 
comparison,  that  this  kind  of  ice,  which  in  Davis'  Strait  we  should  not  like 
to  have  had  so  near  us,  was  now  considered  of  infinite  service,  when  inter- 
posed between  the  ship  and  the  heavier  floes.  Every  thing  remained  quiet 
for  the  rest  of  the  day,  without  producing  any  pressure  of  consequence ;  the 
wind  came  round  to  N.b.E.  at  night,  but  without  moving  the  ice  off  the  land. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  the  13th,  I  received,  by  Mr.  Griffiths,  a  message  Sun.  13. 
from  Lieutenant  Liddon,  acquainting  me  that  at  eleven  o'clock  on  the  pre- 
ceding night  the  ice  had  been  setting  slowly  to  the  westward,  and  had  at 
the  same  time  closed  in  upon  the  land  where  the  Griper  was  lying,  by  which 
means  she  was  forced  against  the  submarine  ice,  and  her  stern  lifted  two  feet 
out  of  the  water.  This  pressure.  Lieutenant  Liddon  remarked,  had  given 
her  a  twist  which  made  her  crack  a  good  deal,  but  apparently  without  suf- 


24iB  VOYAGE  FOR,  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  fering  any  material  injury  in  her  hull,  though  the  ice  was  still  pressing  upon 
■^)i="^'  her  when  Mr.  Griffiths  came  away.  She  had  at  first  heeled  inwards,  but  on 
being  lifted  higher,  fell  over  towards  the  deep  water.  Under  these  circum- 
stances. Lieutenant  Liddon  had  very  properly  landed  all  the  journals  and 
other  documents  of  importance,  and  made  every  arrangement  in  his  power 
for  saving  the  provisions  and  stores,  in  case  of  shipwreck,  which  he  had  now 
every  reason  to  anticipate.  Convinced  as  I  was  that  no  human  art  or  power 
could,  in  our  present  situation,  prevent  such  a  catastrophe,  whenever  the 
pressure  of  the  ice  became  sufficient,  I  was  more  than  ever  satisfied  with  the 
determination  to  which  I  had  previously  come,  of  keeping  the  ships  apart, 
during  the  continuance  of  these  untoward  circumstances,  in  order  to  increase 
the  chance  of  saving  one  of  them  from  accidents  of  this  nature.  I,  therefore, 
thought  it  right  merely  to  direct  Lieutenant  Liddon's  attention  to  the  ne- 
cessity of  saving  the  provisions  and  fuel,  in  preference  to  any  other  species 
of  stores,  and  established  signals  to  be  made  upon  the  point  of  land  which  in- 
tervened between  the  ships,  in  case  of  any  thing  occurring.  In  the  mean 
•  time,  the  ice  remained  so  close  about  the  Hecla,  that  the  slightest  pressure 
producing  in  it  a  motion  towards  the  shore,  must  have  placed  us  in  a  situation 
similar  to  that  of  the  Griper;  and  our  attention  was,  therefore,  diverted  to  the 
more  important  object  of  providing,  by  every  means  in  our  power,  for  the 
security  of  the  larger  ship,  as  being  the  principal  depot  of  provisions  and 
other  resources. 

At  five  P.M.  Lieutenant  Liddon  acquainted  me  by  letter,  that  the  Griper 
had  at  length  righted,  the  ice  having  slackened  a  little  around  her,  and  that 
all  the  damage  she  appeared  to  have  sustained  waS  in  her  rudder,  which  was 
badly  split,  and  would  require  some  hours'  labour  to  repair  it,  whenever  the 
ice  should  allow  him  to  get  it  on  shore.  He  also  stated  that,  from  the  par- 
ticular situation  into  which  the  Griper  had  been  forced,  and  of  the  masses  of 
ice  immediately  about  her,  a  westerly  wind,  though  it  might  eventually  clear 
the  shore,  would  in  the  first  place  subject  her  to  another  squeeze  like  that 
from  which  she  had  just  been  so  opportunely  released.  Lieutenant  Beechey 
observed  from  the  hill,  in  the  course  of  the  day,  that  the  ice  was  so  compact 
as  not  to  leave  an  opening  in  any  direction,  and  that  it  was  set  so  close 
against  the  shore,  that  nothing  could  have  passed  between  them.  It  had 
moved  off  a  few  yards  from  the  Hecla  for  two  or  three  hours,  and  in  the 
evening  closed  again,  so  as  to  press  her  firmly  against  the  land,  though 
without  any  material  strain.     This  pressure  arose  principally  from  the  ap- 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  247 

proach  of  the  large  block  of  ice  which  I  have  described  as  having  been  raised  1820. 
up  on  the  9th,  and  which,  having  been  frequently  drifted  backwards  and  "^li^" 
forwards  past  the  ship  since  that  time,  had  once  more  stationed  itself  rather 
nearer  to  us  than  we  fcould  have  wished.  I  may  here  remark  that  this  mass, 
of  which  we  knew  the  dimensions  by  actual  measurement,  served,  when 
driving  among  the  heavy  floes  in  the  offing,  as  a  standard  of  comparison,  by 
Avhich  the  height  of  the  latter  above  the  sea,  and  thence  their  whole  bulk, 
could  be  estimated  with  tolerable  accuracy ;  and  it  was  principally  in  this 
manner  that  a  judgment  was  formed  of  those  enormous  fields  with  which  this 
part  of  the  sea  was  incumbered.  There  was  a  very  light  air  from  the  south- 
ward and  eastward  for  the  greater  part  of  the  evening,  and  a  fog  came  on  as 
the  atmosphere  cooled  at  night. 

Soon  after  midnight  the  ice  pressed  closer  in  upon  the  Hecla  than  before,  Mon.  14. 
giving  her  a  heel  of  eighteen  inches  towards  the  shore,  but  without  appearing 
to  strain  her  in  the  slightest  degree.  Most  of  the  boats  had  been  lowered 
down,  and  securely  moored  upon  the  beach,  to  prevent  their  being  damaged, 
should  the  ship  be  forced  upon  her  broadside,  and  the  rest  were  now  placed 
in  a  similar  situation.  By  four  P.M.,  the  pressure  had  gradually  decreased, 
and  the  ship  had  only  three  or  four  inches  heel ;  in  an  hour  after  she  had 
perfectly  righted,  and  the  ice  remained  quiet  for  the  rest  of  the  day.  A 
light  easterly  wind,  with  small  snow  at  times,  continued  till  six  A.M.,  when 
it  died  away,  and  was  soon  after  succeeded  by  a  gentle  air  from  the  westward. 

Mr.  Fisher  tried  an  experiment  on  the  specific  gravity  of  a  piece  of  floe- 
ice  taken  up  from  alongside  the  ship,  by  which  it  appeared  to  be  heavier 
than  that  we  had  hitherto  weighed  in  the  same  manner.  Being  formed  into 
a  cube,  whose  sides  measured  one  foot  two  inches  and  seven-tenths,  and 
placed  to  float  in  the  sea,  only  one  inch  and  eight-tenths  of  it  remained 
above  the  surface.  The  temperature  of  the  sea-water  at  the  time,  was  34°, 
and  its  specific  gravity  1.0105. 

The  weather  became  foggy,  with  small  rain  in  the  afternoon  ;  before  the 
fog  came  on,  however,  Mr.  Ross  obsei-ved  from  the  hill  that  the  same  un- 
varied surface  of  impenetrable  ice,  as  before,  presented  itself  in  every  direc- 
tion ;  and  a  note  from  Lieutenant  Liddon  acquainted  me  that  no  alteration 
had  lately  taken  place  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Griper. 

Every  moment's  additional  detention  now  served  to  confirm  me  in  the 
opinion  I  had  formed,  as  to  the  expediency  of  trying,  at  all  risks,  to  pene- 
trate to  the  southward,  whenever  the  ice  would  allow  us  to  move  at  all. 


248  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  rather  than  persevere  any  longer  in  the  attempts  we  had  been  lately  making 
K^^^'  with  so  little  success,  to  push  on  directly  to  the  westward.  I,  therefore, 
gave  Lieutenant  Liddon  an  order  to  run  back  a  certain  distance  to  the  east- 
ward, whenever  he  could  do  so,  without  waiting  for  the  Hecla,  should 
that  ship  be  still  detained ;  and  to  look  out  for  any  opening  in  the  ice  to  the 
southward,  which  might  seem  likely  to  favour  the  object  I  had  in  view, 
waiting  for  me  to  join  him,  should  any  such  opening  occur. 

The  westerly  breeze  freshening  up,  with  continued  snow,  the  ice  about 
the  ship  began  to  move  at  seven  P.M.  The  usual  superficial  current  was 
soon  observed  to  make,  carrying  with  it  to  the  eastward  the  loose  and  broken 
fragments  of  ice.  At  eight  o'clock  the  heavier  masses  had  also  acquired 
motion,  and  it  became  necessary  to  shelter  the  Hecla  from  their  approach 
by  shifting  her  once  more  to  the  eastward  of  the  point.  In  doing  this,  we 
found  the  current  at  the  extreme  point  running  at  the  rate  of  two,  or  two  and 
a  half  miles  an  hour,  so  as  to  require  great  caution  in  laying  out  our  warps 
to  prevent  the  ship  being  carried  back  to  the  eastward ;  and  this  not  three 
hours  after  it  had  first  begun  to  make.  The  frequent  experience  we  had  of  the 
quickness  with  which  currents  are  thus  formed,  in  consequence  merely  of  the 
wind  setting  the  various  bodies  of  ice  in  motion,  naturally  leads  to  this 
useful  caution,  that  one  or  two  trials  of  the  set  of  the  stream  in  icy  seas 
must  not  be  too  hastily  assumed  in  drawing  any  conclusion  as  to  its  constant 
or  periodical  direction.  I  am  convinced,  indeed,  that,  of  all  the  circum- 
stances which  render  the  navigation  among  ice  so  precarious  and  uncertain, 
there  is  none  so  liable  to  constant  alteration,  and  on  which,  therefore,  so 
little  dependence  can  be  placed,  as  an  indication  of  the  existence  of  a 
passage  in  this  or  that  direction,  as  the  set  and  velocity  of  the  superficial 
currents. 
Tues.  15.  The  breeze  died  away  in  the  course  of  the  night,  just  as  the  ice  was 
beginning  to  separate,  and  to  drift  away  from  the  shore  ;  and,  being  suc- 
ceeded by  a  wind  off  the  land,  which  is  here  very  unusual.  Lieutenant 
Liddon  was  enabled  to  make  sail  upon  the  Griper  at  two  A.M.  on  the  15th, 
in  execution  of  the  orders  I  had  given  him.  As  I  soon  perceived,  however, 
that  she  made  little  or  no  way,  the  wind  drawing  more  to  the  eastward  on 
that  part  of  the  coast,  and  as  the  clear  water  was  increasing  along  the  shore 
to  the  westward,  much  farther  than  we  had  yet  seen  it,  I  made  the  signal 
of  recall  to  the  Griper,  with  the  intention  of  making  another  attempt,  Avhich' 
the   present  favourable   appearances  seemed   to  justify,    to   push   forward- 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  249 

without  delay  in  the  desired  direction.  At  five  A.M.,  therefore,  as  soon  as  i820. 
the  snow  had  cleared  away  sufficiently  to  allow  the  signal  to  be  distinguished,  ^;,^^^: 
we  cast  off,  and  ran  along  shore,  the  wind  having  by  this  time  veered  to  the 
E.b.N.,  and  blowing  in  strong  puffs  out  of  the  ravines  as  we  passed  them. 
We  sailed  along,  generally  at  the  distance  of  a  hundred  or  a  hundred  and 
fifty  yards  from  the  beach,  our  soundings  being  from  ten  to  seventeen 
fathoms  ;  and,  after  running  a  mile  and  a  half  in  a  N.W.b.W.  direction,  once 
more  found  the  ice  offering  an  impenetrable  obstacle  to  our  progress  west- 
ward, at  a  small  projecting  point  of  land  just  beyond  us.  We,  therefore, 
hauled  the  ship  into  a  birth  which  we  were  at  this  moment  fortunate  in 
finding  abreast  of  us,  and  where  we  were  enabled  to  place  the  Hecla 
within  a  number  of  heavy  masses  of  grounded  ice,  such  as  do  not  often  occur 
on  this  steep  coast,  and  which,  comparatively  with  the  situation  we  had  lately 
left,  appeared  a  perfect  harbour.  In  the  mean  time,  the  wind  had  failed  our 
consort,  when  she  was  a  mile  and  a  half  short  of  this  place  ;  and  Lieutenant 
Liddon,  after  endeavouring  in  vain  to  warp  up  to  us,  was  obliged,  by  the  ice 
suddenly  closing  upon  him,  to  place  her  in-shore  in  the  first  situation  he 
could  find,  which  proved  to  be  in  very  deep  water,  as  well  as  otherwise  so 
insecure,  as  not  to  admit  a  hope  of  saving  the  ship,  should  the  ice  continue 
to  press  in  upon  her.  It  now  became  of  essential  importance  to  endeavour 
to  get  the  Hecla  so  far  into  security  in  her  present  situation,  as  to  allow  of 
assistance  being  sent  to  the  Griper  in  case  of  accidents.  With  this  view,  I 
assembled  the  officers  and  ship's  company,  and  having  acquainted  them  with 
my  intention,  caused  such  arrangements  to  be  made  for  sending  parties 
round,  accompanied  by  proper  officers,  as  might  prevent  confusion  whenever 
that  measure  became  necessary.  The  plan  proposed  was,  to  cut  large  scut- 
tles or  holes  in  the  decks,  if  time  were  allowed  for  doing  so,  whenever  the 
wreck  of  the  ship  should  appear  to  be  unavoidable,  in  order  to  allow  the 
casks  of  provision  to  float  up  out  of  the  hold,  as  in  any  other  case  they  must 
have  sunk  with  the  ship,  in  deep  water.  The  Hecla's  crew  were  set  to  work 
to  saw  off  some  thick  tongues  of  ice,  which  prevented  her  going  into  a  sort 
of"  natural  dock,"  as  the  sailors  term  it,  formed  by  the  masses  of  grounded 
ice  ;  a  tedious  and  cold  operation,  which  they  performed  with  their  usual 
alacrity,  and  thus  placed  the  ship  in  complete  security.  I  then  walked 
round  to  the  Griper,  to  acquaint  Lieutenant  Liddon  with  the  arrangements 
that  had  been  made,  and  to  consult  with  him  as  to  the  other  means  to 
be  adopted  for  her  safety,  and  the  preservation  of  the  stores.     We  were 


250  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  shortly  afterwards,  however,  relieved  from  any  further  apprehension  on  this 
'^•^'  account,  by  the  ice  gradually  receding  from  the  shore,  in  consequence  of  a 
westerly  breeze  springing  up,  and  allowing  the  Griper  to  warp  up  near 
the  Hecla,  where,  though  she  was  by  no  means  so  safe  as  that  ship,  she 
was  at  least  placed  in  a  situation,  with  which  the  extraordinary  nature  of 
our  late  navigation  taught  us  to  be  satisfied. 

Mr.  Fisher  found  very  good  sport  in  our  new  station,  having  returned  in 
the  evening,  after  a  few  hours'  excursion,  with  nine  hares  ;  the  birds  had,  of 
late,  almost   entirely  deserted  us,  a  flock  or  two  of  ptarmigan  and  snow- 
buntings,  a  few  glaucous  gulls,  a  raven,  and  an  owl,  being  all  that  had  been 
Wed.  16.  met  with  for  several  days. 

A  fog  which  had  prevailed  during  the  night,  cleared  away  in  the  morning  of 
the  16th,  and  a  very  fine  day  succeeded,  with  a  moderate  breeze  from  the 
westward.  In  order  to  have  a  clear  and  distinct  view  of  the  state  of  the  ice, 
after  twenty-four  hours'  wind  from  that  quarter.  Captain  Sabine,  Mr.  Edwards, 
and  myself,  walked  about  two  miles  to  the  westward,  along  the  high  part  of 
the  land  next  the  sea,  from  whence  it  appeared  but  too  evident  that  no 
passage  in  this  direction  was  yet  to  be  expected.  The  only  clear  water 
in  sight  was  a  channel  of  about  three-quarters  of  a  mile  wide  in  some  places, 
between  the  ice  and  the  land,  extending  as  far  as  a  bold  headland,  bearing 
N.  52°  W.,  distant  two  miles  and  a  quarter,  which  formed  the  western  ex- 
treme in  sight,  and  was  called  Cape  Dundas,  as  appropriate  to  the  name 
which  the  island  had  received.  The  ice  to  the  west  and  south-west  was  as 
solid  and  compact,  to  all  appearance,  as  so  much  land;  to  which,  indeed, 
the  surface  of  many  of  the  fields,  from  the  kind  of  hill  and  dale  I  have 
before  endeavoured  to  describe,  bore  no  imperfect  resemblance.  I  have 
no  doubt  that,  had  it  been  our  object  to  circumnavigate  Melville  Island, 
or,  on  the  other  hand,  had  the  coast  continued  its  westerly  direction 
instead  of  turning  to  the  northward,  we  should  still  have  contrived  to  pro- 
ceed a  little  occasionally,  as  opportunities  offered,  notwithstanding  the 
increased  obstruction  which  here  presented  itself;  but  as  neither  of  these 
was  the  case,  there  seemed  little  or  nothing  to  hope  for  from  any 
further  attempts  to  prosecute  the  main  object  of  the  voyage  in  this  place. 
I  determined,  therefore,  no  longer  to  delay  the  execution  of  my  former  inten- 
tions, and  to  make  trial,  if  possible,  of  a  more  southern  latitude,  in  which  I 
might  follow  up  the  success  that  had  hitherto  attended  our  exertions. 

The  place  to  which  we  had  now  walked,  was  the  eastern  bank  of  the 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  251 

largest  ravine  we  had  ever  seen  upon  the  island ;  its  width  at  the  part  next 
the  sea  being  above  half  a  mile,  and  its  sides,  which  are  nearly  per- 
pendicular, not  less  than  eight  hundred  feet  in  height.  In  watching  the 
little  stream,  not  more  than  a  yard  or  two  wide  and  a  few  inches  in 
depth,  now  trickling  along  the  bottom  of  this  immense  water-course,  it  was 
impossible  not  to  be  forcibly  struck  with  the  consideration  of  the  time 
which  must  have  been  required,  with  means  apparently  so  inadequate, 
to  hew  out  so  vast  a  bed  for  the  annual  discharge  of  the  winter's  snow 
into  the  ocean.  We  here  met  with  no  other  mineral  than  sandstone ;  the 
formation  of  the  rocks,  as  far  as  we  could  see  them  in  the  ravines,  here  and 
there  resembled  large  upright  masses,  or  square  pillars,  standing  amidst 
the  debris  which  surrounded  them ;  in  other  places,  a  range  of  sandstone,  in 
thin  horizontal  strata,  was  left  in  the  same  manner,  having  all  the  appear- 
ance of  a  wall  artificially  constructed,  and  on  these  a  square  part  sometimes 
occurred,  higher  than  the  rest,  not  unlike  chimneys,  for  which,  in  an 
inhabited  country,  they  might  easily  have  been  taken  at  a  little  distance. 
In  some  of  the  higher  parts  of  the  land,  upon  the  brink  of  the  precipice 
which  overlooks  the  sea,  we  remarked  almost  the  first  commencement  of 
ravines,  consisting  of  small  channels  a  yard  or  two  in  depth,  and  which,  as 
we  then  amused  ourselves  by  reflecting,  may  one  day  resemble  those  im- 
mense beds  which  constitute  the  most  sublime  and  picturesque  feature 
that  this  island  can  boast.  I  have  before  remarked  that,  at  the  outlet  of 
these  ravines,  there  is  always  a  small  point  of  land,  formed  by  the  soil  and 
stones  which  are  there  carried  into  the  ocean ;  I  repeat  this  observation,  for 
the  sake  of  adding  that,  in  cases  of  danger  from  the  sudden  closing  of 
the  ice,  a  ship  may  always  be  sure  of  meeting  with  one  of  these  points, 
which  are  too  small  to  be  seen  at  a  distance,  or  to  be  delineated  on 
the  chart,  by  steering  for  one  of  the  ravines,  the  latter  being  easily  distin- 
guishable when  several  miles  from  the  land. 

The  station  at  which  the  ships  were  now  lying,  and  which  is  the  westernmost 
point  to  which  the  navigation  of  the  Polar  Sea  to  the  northward  of  the 
American  continent  has  yet  been  carried,  is  in  latitude  74°  26'  25",  and 
longitude,  by  chronometers,  113°  46'  43  ".5.  Cape  Dundas  is  in  latitude 
74°  27'  50",  longitude  113°  57'  35",  by  which  the  length  of  Melville  Island,  in 
an  E.N.E.  and  W.S.W.  direction,. appears  to  be  about  one  hundred  and  thirty- 
five  miles,  and  its  breadth,  about  the  meridian  of  Winter  Harbour,  from  forty 
to  fifty  miles. 


252  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  At  two  P.M.  we  cast  off  from  the  shore,  and  ran  close  along  the  edge  of 
^^^^^  the  ice  to  the  eastward,  the  general  distance  from  the  land  being  a  mile  and 
a  half  for  the  first  four  or  five  miles,  and  then  gradually  much  closer,  I 
acquainted  the  officers  with  the  object  I  had  now  in  view,  and  directed  a 
vigilant  look-out  to  be  constantly  kept  for  any  opening  in  the  ice  that  might 
favour  our  getting  to  the  southward.  The  wind  died  away  after  five  P.M., 
and  then  became  extremely  variable,  shifting  in  "  cat's  paws"  from  one  point 
to  another  as  quickly  as  we  could  trim  the  sails.  At  nine  P.M.  we  were 
abreast  the  place  where  we  had  landed  on  the  5th,  and  here  we  perceived 
that  the  ice  closed  in  with  the  land  a  little  to  the  eastward.  There  was  no 
security  to  be  found  for  the  ships  without  getting  past  one  of  the  small  points 
at  the  mouth  of  a  ravine,  against  which  a  floe  was  setting  the  smaller  pieces 
of  ice,  and  had  blocked  up  the  passage  before  we  arrived  at  it.  After  two  hours' 
labour  in  heaving  with  hawsers,  during  which  the  Hecla  narrowly  escaped  a 
severe  "  nip"  by  the  sudden  closing  of  the  ice,  we  succeeded  in  getting 
through,  and,  soon  after  midnight,  made  the  ships  fast  to  some  very  heavy 
grounded  ice  near  the  beach.  We  observed  a  number  of  hares  feeding  on  the 
sides  of  the  cliffs,  as  we  sailed  along  in  the  afternoon,  and  also  a  few 
ptarmigan. 
Thur.  17,  The  place  where  the  Hecla  was  now  secured,  being  the  only  one  of  the  kind 
which  could  be  found,  was  a  little  harbour  formed,  as  usual,  by  the  grounded 
ice,  some  of  which  was  fixed  to  the  bottom  in  ten  to  twelve  fathoms.  One 
side  of  the  entrance  to  this  harbour  consisted  of  masses  of  floes,  very  regular 
in  their  shape,  placed  quite  horizontally,  and  broken  off"  so  exactly  perpen- 
dicular, as  to  resemble  a  handsome  well-built  wharf.  On  the  opposite  side, 
however,  the  masses  to  which  we  looked  for  security  were  themselves  rather 
terrific  objects,  as  they  leaned  over  so  much  towards  the  ship,  as  to  give  th€ 
appearance  of  their  being  in  the  act  of  falling  upon  her  deck ;  and  as  a  veryj| 
trifling  concussion  often  produces  the  fall  of  much  heavier  masses  of  ice^J 
when  in  appearance  very  firmly  fixed  to  the  ground,  I  gave  orders  that  noa 
guns  should  be  fired  near  the  ship  during  her  continuance  in  this  situationsjj 
The  Griper  was  of  necessity  made  fast  near  the  beach,  in  rather  an  expose* 
situation,  and  her  rudder  unshipped,  in  readiness  for  the  ice  coming  in ;  itj 
remained  quiet,  however,  though  quite  close,  during  the  day,  the  weather 
being  calm  and  fine.  The  latitude  observed  here  was  74°  24'  50",  the  longi-^ 
tude  112°  38'  55",  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic  needle  111°  19'  15l 
easterly. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  253 

The  weather  became  foggy  at  night;  the  young  ice,  which  had,  for  several  1820. 
evenings  past,  begun  to  form  upon  the  surface  of  the  sea,  as  the  sun  became  v.^^-^' 
low,  did  not  thaw  during  the  whole  of  this  day.  Mr.  Fisher  was  again 
successful  in  his  sporting  excursion,  bringing  in  nine  hares,  the  greater  part 
of  which  were  still  beautifully  white  ;  about  a  dozen  young  ptarmigan  were 
also  killed  in  each  ship.  The  vegetation  in  this  neighbourhood  was  much  the 
same  as  in  our  last  station ;  the  sorrel  had  now  become  too  insipid  to  be  at 
all  palatable. 

On  the  18th  the  weather  was  alternately  clear  and  cloudy,  with  a  slight  air  Frid.  18. 
of  wind  from  the  S.W.  The  ice  continued  close  to  the  land  as  far  as  we 
could  see  in  both  directions,  and  without  the  smallest  perceptible  motion  till 
the  evening,  when  it  slackened  a  little  along  the  shore.  I  immediately 
despatched  Mr.  Nias  to  Cape  Providence,  which  was  still  two  miles  and  a  half 
to  the  eastward  of  us,  to  examine  the  appearance  of  the  ice  beyond  it.  He 
reported,  on  his  return,  that  it  was  slack  at  the  distance  of  two  hundred  yards 
from  the  shore,  as  far  as  the  Cape,  but  that  to  the  eastward  there  was  no 
appearance  of  clear  water.  As  there  was  not  the  smallest  security  for  the 
ships  for  the  next  three  or  four  miles  along  the  shore,  it  was  necessary  still 
to  continue  in  our  present  place  of  refuge. 

It  was  again  nearly  calm  on  the  19th,  and  the  weather  was  foggy  for  some  Sat.  19. 
hours  in  the  morning.  In  the  evening,  having  walked  to  Cape  Providence, 
to  see  if  there  was  any  possibility  of  moving  the  ships,  I  found  the  ice  so 
close  that  a  boat  could  not  have  passed  beyond  the  Cape ;  but  a  light  air 
drifting  the  ice  slowly  to  the  eastward  at  this  time,  gave  me  some  hopes  of 
soon  being  enabled  to  make  our  escape  from  this  tedious  as  well  as  vexatious 
confinement.  At  a  quarter  past  eight  it  was  high-water  by  the  shore  ;  about 
this  time  the  ice  ceased  driving  to  the  eastward,  and  shortly  after  returned  in 
the  opposite  direction.  This  coincidence,  if  it  be  only  such,  seemed  in  some 
degree  to  confirm  what  I  had  hitherto  considered  to  be  the  case  with  respect 
to  the  flood-tide  coming  from  the  westward  upon  this  coast;  but  it  may, 
perhaps,  have  been  occasioned  only  by  the  usual  superficial  current,  as  a  light 
air  sprung  up  from  the  eastward  about  that  time. 

At  half-past  eleven  P.M.,  some  heavy  pieces  of  the  grounded  ice,  to  which 
our  bow-hawser  was  secured,  fell  off  into  the  water,  snapping  the  rope  in 
two,  without  injuring  the  ship.  As,  however,  every  alteration  of  this  kind 
must  materially  change  the  centre  of  gravity  of  the  whole  mass,  which  already 
appeared  in  a  tottering  state,  I  thought  it  prudent  to  move  the  Hecla  out  of 


254.  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

her  harbour  to  the  place  where  the  Griper  was  lying,  considering  that  a  ship 
might  easily  be  forced  on  shore  by  the  ice  without  suffering  any  serious 
damage ;  but  that  one  of  those  enormous  masses  falling  upon  her  deck  must 
inevitably  crush  or  sink  her. 
Sun.  20.  The  weather  being  again  calm  on  the  20th  and  21st  allowed  the  "  young 
ice"  to  form  upon  the  surface  to  such  a  degree  as  firmly  to  cement  together 
the  loose  pieces  which  hung  about  the  ships  ;  and  it  did  not  thaw  during  those 
days,  though  the  sun  was  shining  clearly  upon  it  for  several  hours.  Although 
this  alone  was  sufficient  to  deter  me  from  moving  the  ships,  without  a  fresh 
breeze  of  wind,  I  was  anxious  to  know  the  state  of  the  ice  to  the  eastward, 
and  I,  therefore,  sent  Mr.  Nias  to  the  Cape  on  the  evening  of  the  21st,  to 
examine  it  with  a  glass.  On  his  return  he  acquainted  me  that  no  alteration 
had  taken  place,  the  whole  body  of  the  ice  remaining  still  close  in  with  the 
shore,  and  perfectly  compact  and  impenetrable  to  the  eastward,  as  well  as  to 
the  south. 

Tues.  22.  On  the  22d,  the  ice  still  remained  as  close  as  before,  more  so  indeed  as, 
on  the  failure  of  a  light  breeze  which  had  been  blowing  from  the  westward 
for  an  hour  or  two^  and  had  amused  us  with  hopes  of  getting  away,  the  loose 
ice  surrounded  us  completely,  so  that  we  were  immoveably  beset.  Calm 
weather  is  observed  always  to  make  ice  open  out,  and  occupy  more  space 
than  it  had  done  before,  as  if  the  previous  breeze  had  been  acting  on  art 
elastic  substance,  which  springs  back  as  soon  as  the  force  of  the  wind  is  re- 
moved from  it. 

Wed.  23.  The  "  young  ice"  had  increased  to  the  thickness  of  an  inch  and  a  half  on 
the  morning  of  the  23d,  and  some  snow  which  had  fallen  in  the  night  served 
to  cement  the  whole  more  firaily  together.  On  a  breeze  springing  up  from 
the  westward,  however,  it  soon  began  to  acquire  a  motion  to  leeward, 
and,  at  half  an  hour  before  noon,  had  slackened  about  the  ships  suf- 
ficiently to  allow  us  to  warp  them  out,  which  was  accordingly  done,  and 
all  sail  made  upon  them.  The  wind  having  freshened  up  from  the  W.N.W., 
the  ships'  heads  were  got  the  right  way,  and  by  great  attention  to  the 
sails,  kept  so  till  they  had  got  abreast  of  Cape  Providence,  after  which 
they  Avere  no  longer  manageable,  the  ice  being  more  close  than  before.  I 
have  before  remarked  that  the  loose  ice  in  this  neighbourhood  was  heavy 
in  proportion  to  the  floes  from  which  it  had  been  broken;  and  the  im- 
possibility of  sailing  among  such  ice,  most  of  which  drew  more  water  than 
the  Hecla,  and  could  not  therefore  be  turned  by  her  Aveight,  was  this  day 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  255 

rendered  very  apparent,  the  ships  having  received  by  far  the  heaviest  shocks  1820. 
which  they  experienced  during  the  voyage.  They  continued,  however,  to  ^^li^," 
drive  till  they  were  about  three  miles  to  the  eastward  of  Cape  Providence, 
where  the  low  land  commences ;  when  finding  that  there  was  not  any 
appearance  of  open  water  to  the  eastward  or  southward,  and  that  we  were 
now  incurring  the  risk  of  being  beset  at  sea,  without  a  chance  of  making  any 
farther  progress,  we  hauled  in  for  the  largest  piece  of  grounded  ice  we  could 
see  upon  the  beach,  which  we  reached  at  six  P.M.,  having  performed  six  miles 
of  the  most  difficult  navigation  I  have  ever  known  among  ice.  The  Hecla 
was  made  fast  in  from  eighteen  to  twenty  feet  water  close  to  the  beach,  and 
the  Griper  in  four  fathoms,  about  half  a  mile  to  the  westward  of  us. 

The  situation  in  which  the  ships  were  now  placed,  when  viewed  in  com- 
bination with  the  shortness  of  the  remaining  part  of  the  season,  and  the 
period  to  which  our  resources  of  every  kind  could  be  extended,  was  such  as 
to  require  a  more  than  ordinary  consideration,  in  order  to  determine  upon 
the  measures  most  proper  to  be  pursued,  for  the  advancement  of  the  public 
service  and  the  security  of  the  ships  and  people  committed  to  my  charge. 
Judging  from  the  close  of  the  summer  of  1819,  it  was  reasonable  to  consider 
the  7th  of  September  as  the  limit  beyond  which  the  navigation  of  this  part  of 
the  Polar  Sea  could  not  be  performed,  with  tolerable  safety  to  the  ships,  or 
with  any  hope  of  further  success.  Impressed,  however,  with  a  strong  sense 
of  the  efforts  which  it  became  us  to  make  in  the  prosecution  of  our  enterprise, 
I  was  induced  to  extend  this  limit  to  the  14th  of  September,  before  which 
day,  on  the  preceding  year,  the  winter  might  fairly  be  said  to  have  set  in. 
But  even  with  this  extension  our  prospect  was  not  very  encouraging :  the 
direct  distance  to  Icy  Cape  was  between  eight  and  nine  hundred  miles, 
while  that  which  we  had  advanced  towards  it  this  season,  fell  short  of  sixty 
miles. 

I  have  already  detailed  the  reasons  which  inclined  me  to  believe,  that 
there  was  little  hope  of  making  further  progress  to  the  westward  in  this 
latitude,  and  the  grounds  upon  which  I  had  determined  to  run  along  the  edge 
of  the  ice  to  the  eastward.  Such,  however,  was  the  extreme  difficulty  with 
which  we  were  enabled  to  navigate  the  ships  in  this,  or  any  other,  direction, 
that  it  had  for  many  days  been  equally  out  of  our  power  to  effect  this 
object.  Indeed,  we  had  experienced,  during  the  first  half  of  the  navigable  sea- 
son, such  a  continued  series  of  vexations,  disappointments  and  delays,  accom- 
panied by   such   a  constant  state  of  danger  to  the  ships,  that  I  felt  it  would 


256  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  no  longer  be  deemed  justifiable  in  me  to  persevere  in  a  fruitless  attempt  to  get 
^^1^  to  the  westward. 

By  Mr.  Hooper's  report  of  the  remains  of  provisions,  it  appeared  that,  at 
the  present  reduced  allowance,  (namely,  two-thirds  of  the  established  pro- 
portion for  the  navy),  they  would  last  until  the  30th  of  November,  1821  ;  and 
that  an  immediate  reduction  to  half  allowance,  which  must,  however,  tend 
materially  to  impair  the  health  and  vigour  of  the  officers  and  men,  would  only 
extend  our  resources  till  the  30th  of  April,  1822;  it  therefore  became  a 
matter  of  evident  and  imperious  necessity,  that  the  ships  should  be  cleared 
from  the  ice  before  the  close  of  the  season  of  1821,  so  as  to  reach  some 
station  where  supplies  might  be  obtained  by  the  end  of  that,  or  early  in  the 
following,  year. 

By  the  same  report,  it  appeared  that  the  fuel,  with  which  we  were  fur- 
nished, could  only  be  made  to  extend  to  a  period  of  tw^o  years  and  seven 
months,  or  to  the  end  of  November,  1821  ;  and  this  only  by  resorting  to  the 
unhealthy  measure  of  both  crews'  living  on  board  the  Hecla,  during  six  of  the 
ensuing  winter  months.  The  above  calculation  was  made  according  to  the 
proportion  of  fuel  hitherto  consumed  on  board  each  ship,  varying  at  dif- 
ferent periods  of  the  year,  from  one  and  a  half  to  three  bushels  of  coal 
per  day, — a  quantity  which,  far  from  affording  the  officers  and  men  com- 
fort in  so  rigorous  a  climate,  was  found  barely  sufficient  to  preserve  their 
health. 

The  ships  might  be  considered  almost  as  effective  as  when  the  Expedition 
left  England ;  the  wear  and  tear  having  been  trifling,  and  the  quantity  of 
stores  remaining  on  board  being  amply  sufficient,  in  all  probability,  for  a 
much  longer  period  than  the  provisions  and  fuel.  The  health  of  the  officers 
and  men  continued  also  as  good,  or  nearly  so,  as  at  the  commencement  of  the 
voyage.  Considering,  however,  the  serious  loss  we  had  sustained  in  the 
lemon-juice,  the  only  effectual  anti-scorbutic  on  which  we  could  depend, 
during  at  least  nine  months  of  the  year  in  these  regions,  as  well  as  the  effects 
likely  to  result  from  crowding  nearly  one  hundred  persons  into  the  accom- 
modation intended  only  for  fifty-eight,  whereby  the  difficulty  of  keeping  the 
inhabited  parts  of  the  ship  in  a  dry  and  wholesome  state  would  have  been 
so  much  increased,  there  certainly  seemed  some  reason  to  apprehend,  that  a 
second  winter  would  not  leave  us  in  possession  of  the  same  excellent  health 
which  we  now  happily  enjoyed,  while  it  is  possible  that  the  difficulty  and 
danger  of  either  proceeding  or  returning  might  have  been  increased. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  257 

'fhese  considerations,  together  with  some  others  of  minor  importance,  in-  1820. 
duced  me,  at  this  time,  to  call  for  the  opinions  of  the  principal  officers  of  the  Ji^IiL'' 
Expedition,  being  desirous  of  profiting  by  their  united  judgment  and  expe- 
rience, previous  to  forming  my  ultimate  decision  as  to  the  measures  most 
proper  to  be  pursued.  I,  therefore,  addressed  a  letter  to  Lieutenants  Liddon, 
Beechey,  and  Hoppner,  Captain  Sabine,  and  Messrs.  Edwards  and  Hooper, 
respectively,  directing  their  attention  to  the  diflPerent  points  connected  with 
our  situation  which  I  have  just  detailed,  and  requesting  their  advice  upon  the 
subject  within  thirty-six  hours  after  the  receipt  of  my  letter. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  the  24th,  the  wind  shifted  to  north,  and  soon  after  Thur.  24. 
increased  to  a  fresh  breeze,  which  made  the  ice  stream  off  the  land,  but  so  slowly, 
that  it  was  not  till  ten  A.M.,  that  we  had  a  channel  wide  enough  to  move  the 
ships  to  a  point  a  mile  and  a  half  to  the  eastward,  which  we  reached  by  short 
tacks  at  noon ;  and,  beyond  which,  as  well  as  to  the  south  and  west,  nothing  but 
ice  could  be  seen.  So  quickly,  indeed,  was  the  narrow  channel  closed,  in  which 
we  had  been  sailing,  that  when  we  made  fast  to  the  ice  at  the  point,  it  would 
have  been  impossible  to  have  returned  even  to  the  spot  we  had  just  before  left. 

A  herd  of  musk-oxen  being  seen  at  a  little  distance  from  the  ships,  a  party 
was  despatched  in  pursuit ;  and  Messrs.  Fisher  and  Bushnan  were  fortunate 
in  killing  a  fine  bull,  which  separated  from  the  rest  of  the  herd,  being  too 
unwieldy  to  make  such  good  way  as  the  others.  He  was,  however,  by  no 
means  caught  by  our  people  in  fair  chase,  for  though  these  animals  run  with 
a  hobbling  sort  of  canter  that  makes  them  appear  as  if  every  now  and 
then  about  to  fall,  yet  the  slowest  of  them  can  far  outstrip  a  man.  In 
this  herd  were  two  calves,  much  whiter  than  the  rest,  the  older  ones  having 
only  the  white  saddle.  In  the  evening,  Serjeant  Martin  succeeded  in  killing 
another  bull ;  these  two  animals  afforded  a  very  welcome  supply  of  fresh  meat, 
the  first  giving  us  three  hundred  and  sixty-nine,  and  the  other  three  hundred 
and  fifty-two  pounds  of  beef,  which  was  served  in  the  same  manner  as  before.* 

*  The  total  quantity  of  game  obtained  for  the  use  of  the  Expedition,  during  our  stay  upon 
the  shores  of  Melville  Island,  being  a  pei-iod  of  nearly  twelve  months,  was  as  follows : 
3  Musk-oxen    ---..' 


24  Deer  -  - 
68  Hares  -  - 
53  Geese  -  - 
59  Ducks  - 
144  Ptarmigans 


Affording  3,766  pounds  of  meat. 


258  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  The  wind  died  away  soon  after  we  reached  the  point,  affording  no  hope  of 
v^4^  making,  for  the  present,  any  further  progress  by  the  drifting  of  the  ice  from  the 
land;  we,  therefore,  hauled  the  ships  into  the  best  births  we  could  find,  in 
doing  which  the  Hecla's  fore-foot  rested  on  the  ground  for  a  short  time, 
but  she  was  afterwards  secured  in  four  fathoms.  It  was  low  water  by  the 
shore  at  eight  P.M. 
Frid.  25.  The  ice  closed  in  upon  us  in  the  course  of  the  night,  leaving  not  a  single 
pool  of  open  water  in  sight  in  any  direction.  It  was  high- water  at  half-past 
two  A.M.,  and  low-water  at  three-quarters  past  eight,  so  that  the  tides  appeared 
to  continue  very  regular  on  this  part  of  the  coast.  The  Griper,  being  very  near 
the  beach,  grounded  as  the  tide  fell,  so  that  the  water  left  her  between  two 
and  three  feet ;  Lieutenant  Liddon,  therefore,  warped  out  nearer  to  the  Hecla 
in  the  afternoon,  for  fear  of  not  getting  off  when  it  might  be  necessary. 

Immediately  under  the  hills,  which  here,  for  the  first  time,  in  sailing  from 
Cape  Providence  to  the  eastward,  recede  about  two  miles  from  the  sea,  was 
the  most  luxuriant  pasture-ground  we  had  yet  met  with  on  Melville  Island. 
It  consisted  of  about  a  dozen  acres  of  short  thick  grass,  intermixed  with  moss, 
which  gave  it  almost  the  same  lively  appearance  as  that  of  an  English  mea- 
dow. It  was  covered  with  the  dung  and  foot-tracks  of  musk-oxen,  of  which 
twelve  or  fourteen  skulls  were  picked  up  near  it ;  and  it  was  here  that  the 
herd  before-mentioned  was  feeding.  When  walking  over  this  spot,  on  which 
there  were  many  small  ponds  of  wAter,  our  surprise  in  some  degree  ceased 
at  the  immense  distance  which  these  animals  must  travel  in  the  course  of 
their  annual  visits  to  these  dreary  and  desolate  regions  ;  as  such  a  pasture 
affording  undisturbed  and  luxuriant  feeding  during  the  summer  months,  may, 
in  spite  of  the  general  dreary  appearance  of  the  island,  hold  out  sufficient 
inducement  for  their  annual  emigration. 

A  thermometer  in  the  sun  about  two  P.M.  stood  at  52°  for  a  short  time,  the 
weather  being  quite  calm  and  fine.  Mr.  Fisher  tried  an  experiment  on  the 
specific  gravity  of  a  piece  of  floe-ice  found  lying  on  the  top  of  one  of  the 
grounded  masses  near  the  beach.  Being  formed  into  a  cube,  whose  sides 
measured  two  feet,  and  put  into  the  sea,  at  the  temperature  of  33°,  with  that 
side  up  which  was  lying  uppermost  when  first  found,  three  inches  and  a  half 
of  it  remained  above  the  surface  ;  but  when  the  opposite  side  was  turned  up, 
only  three  inches  appeared  above  water.  The  latitude  observed  at  this  station 
was  74°  27'  19",  the  longitude  112°  11'  32",  and  the  variation  of  the  magnetic 
needle  114°  34'  45"  Easterly. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  259 

We  here  obtained  our  last  supply  of  sorrel,  the  leaves  of  which  had  now    1820. 
become  so  shrivelled,  as  well  as  insipid,  as  to  be  no  longer  worth  gathering.  v.^^liL' 
We  saw  no  birds  here  but  one  or  two  flocks  of  king-ducks,  a  speckled  owl, 
which  was  killed,  and  now  and  then  a  solitary  glaucous  gull. 

An  air  of  wind  having  sprung  up  from  the  westward  in  the  evening,  the  ice 
had  slackened  about  us  a  little  by  eight  P.M.,  which  induced  me  to  cast  off 
soon  after,  though  with  little  prospect  of  making  any  progress.  After  two 
hours,  during  which  the  breeze  deserted  us,  we  had  gained  about  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile  to  the  eastward,  and  then  made  fast  to  the  land-ice  to  wait 
for  an  opening,  which  might  enable  us  to  proceed. 

The  wind  remained  light  and  variable  till  five  A.M.  on  the  26th,  Avhen  a  Sat.  26. 
westerly  breeze  began  to  open  the  ice  a  little ;  at  seven  we  cast  off,  and  made 
all  sail  to  the  eastward,  through  loose  but  heavy  pieces  of  ice,  between  which 
there  seemed  sufficient  room  for  the  ships  to  sail.  We  soon  found,  however,  that 
the  young  ice,  which  at  a  distance  appeared  like  open  water,  had  so  completely 
occupied  the  space  between  the  heavier  masses,  that  when  the  ship  had 
entered  it,  it  was  impossible  to  keep  way  upon  her,  or  to  get  her  head  in  the 
right  direction.  Such,  indeed,  was  the  difficulty  of  doing  this,  that  we  were 
incessantly  labouring  from  eight  till  half-past  eleven,  without  gaining  a  single 
yard,  except  what  the  ship  drifted  with  the  ice.  Having  at  length,  however, 
got  out  of  the  scrape  into  which  the  young  ice  had  unavoidably  brought  us, 
and  the  breeze  freshening  up  strong  from  the  westward,  all  sail  was  made 
along  the  land,  generally  within  half  a  mile  of  the  beach,  where  a  channel 
of  clear  water  had  now  opened.  In  the  course  of  the  morning,  the  Hecla 
received  some  very  severe  shocks,  one  of  which  Ave  Avere  apprehensive  had 
damaged  the  rudder,  the  ship  having  run  with  fresh  sternway  against  a  heavy 
piece  of  ice,  but  fortunately  no  material  injury  was  sustained. 

Soon  after  noon,  the  weather  became  thick,  with  heavy  snoAv,  so  that  Ave 
were  obliged  to  run  entirely  by  the  lead,  on  which  Ave  had  every  reason  con- 
fidently to  rely,  as  a  safe  and  sure  guide.  We  kept  close  along  the  edge  of 
the  ice,  which  was  quite  compact  to  the  southward  of  us,  without  the 
smallest  appearance  of  an  opening  to  encourage  a  hope  of  penetrating  in 
that  direction. 

Having  noAv  received  the  ansAvers  of  the  officers  to  my  letter  addressed  to 
them  on  the  23d,  and  given  the  matter  my  most  serious  and  mature  considera- 
tion, it  Avas  necessary  that  I  should  make  up  my  mind  as  to  the  future  con- 
duct of  the  Expedition.     It  Avas  gratifying  to  me  to  find  that  the  oflRcers 


260  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  unanimously  agreed  with  me  in  opinion  that  any  further  attempt  to  penetrate 
'^^i^li^"  to  the  westward  in  our  present  parallel  would  be  altogether  fruitless,  and 
attended  with  a  considerable  loss  of  time,  which  might  be  more  usefully 
employed.  They  also  agreed  with  me  in  thinking,  that  the  plan  which  I  had 
adopted,  of  running  back  along  the  edge  of  the  ice  to  the  eastward,  in  order 
to  look  out  for  an  opening  that  might  lead  us  towards  the  American  continent, 
was,  in  every  respect,  the  most  advisable  ;  and  that,  in  the  event  of  failing 
to  find  any  such  opening,  after  a  reasonable  time  spent  in  the  search,  it  would 
be  expedient  to  return  to  England  rather  than  to  risk  the  passing  another 
winter  in  these  seas,  without  the  prospect  of  attaining  any  adequate  object; 
namely,  that  of  being  able  to  start  from  an  advanced  station  at  the  com- 
mencement of  the  following  season. 

Under  all  the  circumstances  of  the  case,  therefore,  I  could  not  but  admit 
the  propriety  of  immediately  returning  to  England,  should  our  attempt  to  pe- 
netrate to  the  southward  prove  unsuccessful  in  any  part  of  the  navigation 
between  the  position  we  now  occupied  and  Barrow's  Strait ;  as  it  would,  in  ■ 
that  case,  be  impossible  to  make  so  much  progress  either  to  the  southward  or  f; 
the  westward  during  the  short  remainder  of  the  present  season,  as  to  bring 
the  accomplishment  of  the  passage  through  Behring's  Strait  within  the  scopi 
of  our  remaining  resources. 

At  three  P.M.  we  were  abreast  of  Cape  Hearne ;  and,  as  we  opened  th 
bay  of  the  Hecla  and  Griper,  the  wind,  as  usual  on  this  part  of  the  coast,* 
came  directly  out  from  the  northward;  but  as  soon  as  we  had  stretched  over 
to  Bounty  Cape,  of  which  we  were  abreast  at  eight  P.M.,  it  drew  once  more 
along  the  land  from  the  westward.  We  found  a  large  quantity  of  loose  and  o< 
broken  ice  off  Cape  Hearne,  and  not  far  from  the  same  place  we  came  to  a 
floe  of  young  ice,  of  nearly  a  mile  in  length,  and  about  two  inches  and  a  half 
in  thickness,  which  had  undoubtedly  been  formed  this  summer,  probably  in 
some  of  the  bays  and  inlets  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Bounty  Cape.  The 
distance  between  the  ice  and  the  land  increased  as  we  proceeded,  and  at 
midnight  the  channel  appeared  to  be  four  or  five  miles  wide,  as  far  as  the 
darkness  of  the  night  would  allow  of  our  judging;  for  we  could  at  this  period 
scarcely  see  to  read  in  the  cabin  at  ten  o'clock.  The  snow  which  fell  during 
the  day  was  observed,  for  the  first  time,  to  remain  upon  the  land  without  dis- 
solving; thus  affording  a  proof  of  the  temperature  of  the  earth's  surface  having 
again  fallen  below  that  of  freezing ;  and  giving  notice  of  the  near  approach 
of  another  long  and  dreary  winter.     One  or  two  fulmar  petrels,  some  tern. 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  261 

and  numerous  flocks   of  snow-buntings,  were  seen  about  the  ships  in  the    1820. 

r  .lU       j  August. 

course  ot  the  day. 


The  navigable  channel  increased  so  much  in  breadth,  as  we  ran  to  the  east-  Sim.  27. 
ward  with  a  fresh  and  favourable  breeze,  that  at  eight  A.M.,  on  the  morning 
of  the  27th,  when  we  had  advanced  beyond  the  east  end  of  Melville  Island, 
it  was  not  less  than  ten  miles  wide.  We  kept  near  the  ice,  running  at  such  a 
distance  from  it  as  not  to  get  the  ships  embayed  between  the  points,  which 
often  occasions  a  long  and  useless  delay  in  afterwards  beating  round  them 
with  a  scant  wind.  A  constant  look-out  was  kept  from  the  crow's-nest  for  an 
opening  to  the  southward,  but  not  a  single  break  could  be  perceived  in  the 
mass  of  ice  which  still  covered  the  sea  in  that  direction.  We  were  at  noon 
in  latitude  75°  02'  15",  and  longitude  105°  14'  20",  the  soundings  being  ninety- 
four  fathoms,  on  a  muddy  bottom.  Some  water  brought  up  from  that  depth 
in  Dr.  Marcet's  bottle  was  at  the  temperature  of  31°f ,  that  at  the  surface  being 
30°,  and  of  the  air  31°. 

At  seven  P.M.,  a  fog  coming  on,  we  hauled  up  close  to  the  edge  of  the  ice, 
both  as  a  guide  to  us  in  sailing  during  the  continuance  of  the  thick  weather, 
and  to  avoid  passing  any  opening  that  might  occur  in  it  to  the  southward.  We 
were,  in  the  course  of  the  evening,  within  four  or  five  miles  of  the  same  spot 
where  we  had  been  on  the  same  day,  and  at  the  same  hour  the  preceding  year; 
and  by  a  coincidence  perhaps  still  more  remarkable,  we  were  here  once  more 
reduced  to  the  same  necessity  as  before,  of  steering  the  ships  by  one  another  for 
an  hour  or  two  ;  the  Griper  keeping  the  Hecla  ahead,  and  our  quarter-master 
being  directed  to  keep  the  Griper  right  astern,  for  want  of  some  better  mode 
of  knowing  in  what  direction  we  were  running.  The  fog  froze  hard  as  it 'fell 
upon  the  rigging,  making  it  difficult  to  handle  the  ropes  in  working  the  ship, 
and  the  night  was  rather  dark  for  three  or  four  hours. 

A  fresh  breeze  continued  from  the  S.W.b.W.,  with  some  swell,  to  which  Mon.  28. 
we  had  long  been  unaccustomed,  and  which,  together  with  the  extreme 
thickness  of  the  weather,  and  the  uncertainty  of  our  course,  made  great 
caution  necessary  in  running  along  the  ice.  We  had  for  some  time  been 
steering  principally  by  the  moon,  but  when  she  became  obscured,  we  were 
under  the  necessity  of  hauling  our  wind  to  the  northward  and  westward, 
which  led  us  from  the  ice,  till  the  weather  should  become  more  favourable. 
The  fog  began  to  clear  away  at  half-past  five  A.M.  on  the  28th,  and  imme- 
diately after  we  saw  land  from  N.E.b.E.  to  N.N.W.  The  ships'  heads  were 
now  put  to  the  S.S.E.,  in  order  to  take  up  the  ice  where  we  had  last  seen  it, 


262  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820,  but  at  six  o'clock,  in  approaching  some  heavy  detached  masses,  v>^hich  ap- 
J^^^'  peared  to  be  aground,  and  therefore  made  us  very  cautious  with  the  hand- 
leads,  we  shoaled  the  water  rather  more  suddenly  than  usual  from  thirty-five 
to  ten,  and  then  to  seven,  fathoms,  and  tacked  in  five  and  three  quarters 
at  the  distance  of  half  a  mile  to  the  westward  of  the  grounded  ice.  There  is 
certainly  no  land  within  two  or  three  leagues  of  this  shoal,  on  which,  how- 
ever, I  have  little  doubt,  from  the  appearance  of  the  ice  aground  upon  it, 
there  is  water  enough  for  any  ship,  and  which  will  probably  be  at  all  times 
clearly  pointed  out  by  the  never-failing  beacons  of  these  seas.  It  is  cus- 
tomary to  judge  by  the  tide-mark  upon  the  ice  whether  it  be  aground  or  not, 
and  by  its  dimensions  whether  it  may  be  boldly  approached. 

Having  hauled  to  the  N.N.E.,  and  then  gradually  more  to  the  eastward,  we 
deepened  our  water  till  no  soundings  could  be  obtained  with  forty  fathoms 
of  line,  and  then  steered  again  to  the  S.E.,  in  order  to  make  the  main  ice. 
The  impossibility  of  keeping  any  thing  like  an  accurate  reckoning  during  the 
last  night's  run,  and  the  difficulty  of  recognising  the  land  in  consequence  of 
the  snow  which  now  almost  entirely  covered  it,  left  us  for  some  time  at  a  loss 
to  ascertain  our  position,  till  we  found  ourselves  at  noon  off  Cape  Cockburn, 
our  latitude  by  observation  being  74°  58'  28 ".  We  were  now  enabled  to  de- 
termine the  continuity  of  the  land  from  that  point  to  Graham  Moore's  Bay, 
which,  on  its  first  discovery,  we  could  not  exactly  ascertain  on  account  of  the 
distance  at  which  we  sailed  from  it. 

The  ice  to  the  southward,  along  which  we  continued  to  sail  this  day,  was 
composed  of  floes  remarkable  for  their  extraordinary  length  and  continuity, 
some  of  them  not  having  a  single  break  or  crack  for  miles  together,  though 
.  their  height  above  the  sea  was  not  generally  more  than  tAvelve  inches,  and 
their  surface  as  smooth  and  even  as  a  bowling-green,  forming,  in  both  these 
respects,  a  striking  contrast  to  the  ice  to  which  Ave  had  lately  been  accustomed 
more  westerly.  The  outer  edge  of  these  floes,  however,  for  about  one 
hundred  yards,  was  broken  by  the  sea  into  innumerable  small  pieces,  remaining 
so  close  that  a  boat  would  not  penetrate  them;  a  circumstance  which  I 
notice  because  it  prevented  my  putting  into  execution  a  plan  I  had  pro- 
posed of  making  some  observations  on  the  variation  of  the  magnetic 
needle  in  this  neighbourhood,  there  being  every  reason  to  suppose  that 
we  should  have  found  it  to  be  180°,  or  the  south  point  of  the  needle 
turned  directly  to  the  North  Pole  of  the  earth,  about  the  meridian  of  100° 
West  of  Greenwich.      The  wind  being  to  the  southward  of  west,   wliich 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  263 

made  this  shore  a  lee  one,  did  not  allow  me  to  land  on  Bathurst  Island  for    1820. 

,,  .  Aiiffust. 

this  purpose.  v-^^^v./ 

The  weather  was  again  so  thick  with  snow  in  the  afternoon,  that  we  were 
once  more  obliged  to  sail  round  all  the  bays  in  the  ice,  instead  of  running 
from  point  to  point,  in  order  to  leave  no  part  of  it  unexamined ;  and,  on  its 
clearing  up  in  the  evening,  we  found  that  the  ice  was  leading  us  to  the 
northward  of  Garrett  Island,  the  passage  to  the  southward  of  it,  through 
which  we  had  sailed  to  the  westward  the  preceding  year,  being  now  com- 
pletely blocked  up  by  floes,  which  did  not  appear  to  have  been  detached 
from  the  island  during  this  season.  We  had  here  occasion  to  notice,  in  a 
very  striking  degree,  the  deception  occasioned  by  snow  lying  upon  the  land, 
in  judging  of  its  distance ;  this,  indeed,  is  much  more  remarkable  in  these  seas 
than  in  any  other,  when  any  part  of  the  intermediate  space  is  occupied  by  floes 
of  ice,  the  whiteness  of  which  mingles  so  imperceptibly  with  that  of  the  snow 
upon  the  land,  that  it  is  impossible,  from  the  total  absence  of  any  shadow, 
to  tell  where  one  ends  and  the  other  commences.  Such,  indeed,  was  the 
illusion  this  evening,  with  respect  to  Garrett  Island,  which  was  completely 
covered  with  snow,  that,  although  we  were  sailing  at  the  distance  of  only 
four  or  five  miles  from  it,  we  should  scarcely  have  been  aware  that  any 
land  was  in  that  direction,  had  we  not  previously  surveyed  these  islands,  and 
been  running  with  the  chart  before  us. 

In  passing  between  Garrett  and  Bathurst  Islands,  at  the  distance  of  five 
miles  from  the  former,  we  could  find  no  bottom  with  thirty-five  to  fifty 
fathoms  of  line  ;  and  when  its  centre  bore  S.b.W.  5  W.  at  the  same  distance, 
another  island  was  discovered  to  the  northward,  which  had  not  before  been 
seen,  and  which  I  named  after  my  friend  and  former  commander.  Captain 
Thomas  Baker,  of  the  Royal  Navy.  The  eastern  part  of  Bathurst  Island  was 
now  observed  to  extend  farther  to  the  N.N.E.  than  we  had  before  been 
enabled  to  see  it,  terminating  by  a  point  of  land,  called  Cape  Capel,  out  of 
respect  to  the  Honourable  Captain  Thomas  Bladen  Capel,  of  the  Royal 
Navy. 

We  continued  to  run  along  the  edge  of  the  ice  to  the  eastward,  till  half- 
past  ten  P.M.,  when  more  land  being  discovered  a-head,  of  the  extent  and 
position  of  which  we  had  no  previous  knowledge,  and,  the  night  growing 
dark,  the  ships  were  hove-to  with  their  heads  to  the  northward  and  westward, 
in  which  direction  there  was  a  space  of  clear  water  several  miles  in  extent, 
being  in  ninety  fathoms,  on  a  bottom  of  soft  mud. 


264  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

Having  again  got  sight  of  the  land  at  half-past  two  A.M.,  on  the  29th,  we 
bore  up  for  it,  along  the  edge  of  the  ice,  which  completely  surrounded 
29.  Lowther  Island,  but  left  us  a  free  passage  to  the  eastward.  The  land,  dis- 
covered the  preceding  evening,  proved  to  be  an  island,  about  a  mile  and  a 
half  in  length ;  and  being  rather  high,  and  remarkably  bluff  in  every  view, 
appeared  to  have  deep  water  all  round  it.  We  were  abreast  of  it  at  half- 
past  five,  and  I  named  it  Browne  Island,  out  of  respect  to  my  much- 
esteemed  friend,  Mr.  Henry  Browne,  of  Portland-Place.  The  ice  then  led 
us  in  a  S.E.|E.  direction,  towards  another  island,  distant  from  the  first  three 
miles  and  a  half,  bearing  S.  S.E.  It  Avas  named  after  my  friend  Dr.  Somerville  ; 
and  is  low  at  both  ends  like  Garrett  Island.  When  we  first  bore  up  in  the 
morning,  we  had  indistinctly  seen  land  from  N.N.E.  to  E.N.E.,  at  the  dis- 
tance of  four  or  five  leagues.  As  we  advanced,  and  the  day  became  more 
clear,  we  found  it  to  extend  much  farther  to  the  eastward,  and  afterwards 
ascertained  that  it  fonned  a  part  of  Cornwallis  Island,  not  before  seen.  At 
six  o'clock  we  made  Griffith  Island,  between  which  and  the  ice  we  found  the 
navigable  channel  narrowed  in  one  part  to  a  mile,  at  which  distance  from 
the  shore,  we  could  obtain  no  soundings  with  forty  to  fifty  fathoms  of  line. 
The  whole  of  the  shore  of  Griffith  Island  seemed  to  be  bold,  the  land  being 
steep  and  bluff!,  especially  towards  its  south-east  end,  where  the  strata, 
which  appeared  to  be  of  sandstone,  were  observed  to  dip  at  a  considerable 
angle  to  the  S.E. 

At  half  an  hour  before  noon,  the  weather  being  alternately  thick  and  clear, 
from  occasional  showers  of  snow,  a  deeper  bight  than  usual  was  perceived  in 
the  ice,  which  had  hitherto  been  nearly  as  compact  as  if  it  were  composed  of 
a  single  floe.  As  I  had  always  entertained  an  idea,  that  there  was  no  part 
of  this  sea,  in  which  we  were  more  likely  to  get  to  the  southward,  than  im- 
mediately to  the  westward,  of  Cape  Bunny,  I  was  desirous  of  thoroughly 
examining  the  state  of  the  ice  in  this  neighbourhood,  and  bore  up  to  the 
southward,  under  all  sail  for  that  purpose.  After  running  two  or  three 
miles,  however,  we  were  again  stopped  at  twenty  minutes  past  noon ;  and 
the  weather  having  now  cleared  up,  we  perceived  that  the  ice  was  as  compact 
as  before,  except  that  there  was  one  "  hole"  of  water  about  a  third  of  a 
mile  wide  just  within  its  margin,  but  beyond  this  it  was  quite  close  and 
impenetrable.  We  were,  therefore,  under  the  necessity  of  again  hauling  to 
the  eastward,  along  the  edge  of  the  floes,  which  lay  in  a  direction  nearly 
parallel  to  the  southern  shore,  and  at  the  distance  of  seven  or  eight  miles 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  265 

from  it,  being  much  nearer  than  we  had  been  able  to  approach  it,  only  six  1820. 
days  earlier  the  preceding  season.  It  is  remarkable  that  we  here  found  a  y^^Xj 
strong  rippling  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  in  the  same  place  where  we  had 
before  noticed  it;  and,  as  we  could  discover  nothing  like  shoal-water,  or  un- 
evenness  in  the  bottom,  we  concluded  it  must  have  been  occasioned  by  some 
particular  set,  or  meeting  of  the  tides  in  this  place.  The  space  between  us 
and  Cornwallis  Island  was  entirely  free  from  ice,  and  Wellington 
Channel  presented  the  same  broad  navigable  passage,  as  on  the  former 
occasion. 

The  continuity  or  otherwise,  of  a  large  portion  of  the  land  now  to  the  south- 
ward of  us  having  before  remained  undetermined,  on  account  of  the  hazy 
weather  we  had  experienced  on  our  passage  to  the  westward,  I  was  glad  to 
have  an  opportunity  of  filling  up  the  deficiencies  which  had  unavoidably  been 
left  in  the  chart,  upon  this  part  of  the  coast.  Immediately  to  the  eastward  of 
Cunningham  Inlet  is  a  bold  headland,  which  formed  the  extreme  of  the 
land  visible  in  this  direction,  in  1819,  and  which  now  being  clearly  dis- 
tinguished, I  named  after  Major  Rennell,  a  gentleman  well  known  as  the 
ablest  geographer  of  the  age.  At  the  back  of  Cape  Rennell,  the  land 
recedes  considerably,  forming  a  large  bay,  which  I  called  Garnier  Bay, 
and  which,  as  we  did  not  distinctly  see  the  bottom  of  it  in  one  part, 
may  not  improbably  be  found  to  communicate  with  Cunningham  Inlet,  making 
the  intermediate  land,  on  which  Cape  Rennell  stands,  an  island.  Before  night 
came  on,  we  had  traced  the  land  to  the  eastward  nearly  as  far  as  Cape 
Clarence  ;  but  being  desirous  of  leaving  no  part  of  this  coast  unexamined,  by 
running  past  it  in  the  night,  I  hove-to  at  half-past  ten,  with  the  ships'  heads 
to  the  northward,  and  found  no  soundings  with  a  hundred  and  thirty  fathoms 
of  line.  The  whole  of  the  land  we  passed  this  day  was  much  covered  with 
snow,  and,  perhaps,  permanently  so,  as  the  mean  temperature  of  the  at- 
mosphere had,  for  some  time  past,  fallen  rather  below  the  freezing 
point.  If  this  conclusion  be  just,  it  would  appear  that  the  present  season 
was  about  to  close-in  somewhat  earlier  than  it  had  done  the  preceding 
year.  A  flock  of  brent-geese,  some  fulmar  petrels,  a  dovekey,  and  one  or 
two  ivory  gulls,  were  all  the  birds  seen  in  the  course  of  this  day's  run. 

To  the  land  along  which  we  had  now  been  sailing,  I  gave  the  name  of 
North  Somerset,  in  honour  of  my  native  county;  and  the  northern  shore  of 
Barrow's  Strait  was  called  North  Devon,  after  that  of  Lieutenant  Liddon. 

At  a  quarter  past  three  on  the  morning  of  the  30th>  we  bore  up  to  the  Wed.  30. 


Q66  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  eastward,  the  wind  continuing  fresh  directly  down  Barrow's  Strait,  except 
^-^'  i^^^  ^f*^""  passing  Prince  Leopold's  Islands,  where  it  drew  into  Prince  Regent's 
Inlet,  and  as  soon  as  Ave  had  passed  this,  again  assumed  its  former  westerly 
"direction ;  affording  a  remarkable  instance  of  the  manner  in  which  the  wind 
"is  acted  upon  by  the  particular  position  of  the  land,  even  at  a  considerable 
distance  from  it.  The  islands  were  incumbered  with  ice  to  the  distance  of 
four  or  five  miles  all  round  them,  but  the  Strait  was  generally  as  clear  and 
navigable  as  any  part  of  the  Atlantic. 

Having  now  traced  the  ice  the  whole  way  from  the  longitude  of  114°  to 
that  of  90°  without  discovering  any  opening  to  encourage  a  hope  of  pene- 
trating it  to  the  southward,  I  could  not  entertain  the  slightest  doubt,  that 
there  no  longer  remained  a  possibility  of  effecting  our  object  with  the 
present  resources  of  the  Expedition;  and  that  it  was,  therefore,  my  duty  to 
return  to  England  with  the  account  of  our  late  proceedings,  that  no  time 
might  be  lost  in  following  up  the  success  with  which  we  had  been  favoured, 
should  His  Majesty's  Government  consider  it  expedient  to  do  so.  Having 
informed  the  officers  and  men  in  both  ships  of  my  intentions,  I  directed  the 
full  allowance  of  provisions  to  be,  in  future,  issued,  with  such  a  proportion 
of  fuel  as  might  contribute  to  their  comfort ;  a  luxury  which,  on  account  of 
the  necessity  that  existed  for  the  strictest  economy  in  this  article,  it  must  be 
confessed,  we  had  not  often  enjoyed  since  we  entered  Sir  James  Lancaster's 
Sound.  We  had  been  on  two-thirds  allowance  of  bread  between  ten  and 
eleven  months,  and  on  the  same  reduced  proportion  of  the  other  species  of 
provisions,  between  three  and  four ;  and,  although  this  quantity  is  scarcely 
enough  for  working  men  for  any  length  of  time,  I  believe  the  reduction 
of  fuel  was  generally  considered  by  far  the  greater  privation  of  thetwo. 

We  ran  along  the  south  shore,  at  the  distance  of  four  or  five  leagues,  with 
a  fresh  westerly  wind,  and  fine  clear  weather;  a  bay  on  that  coast,  a  little 
to  the  westward  of  Cape  York,  was  named  after  my  friend.  The  Honourable 
Mr.  Eardley.  We  noticed  a  striking  similarity  in  the  geological  character 
of  this  part  of  the  coast,  as  far  as  we  could  judge  at  a  distance,  to  that  on 
the  opposite  shore  of  Barrow's  Strait,  both  being  remarkable  for  that  but- 
tress-like structure,  which  has  before  been  observed  to  resemble  the  woriss 
of  art,  arid  which  gives  this  land  a  magnificent  and  imposing  appearance, 
such  as  it  is  impossible  to  describe.  The  shores  wiere  covered  with  ice  'to 
the  distance  of  four  or  five  miles,  and  the  first  solitary  iceberg  was  seen  iri 
the  course  of  the  afternoon;  but  the  Strait  was,  in  other  respects,  ^perfectly 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE,  S©!? 

free  from  obstruction.     At  eleven  P.M.,  we  were  abreast  of  a  bluff  and    1820. 
remarkable    headland,    which    I    named    after  my   much-esteemed    friend,  ^^1^ 
Mr.  William  Petrie  Craufurd,  and  to  the  eastward  of  which  the  land  appeared 
to   recede,  forming  a  large  bay.     I  continued  to  run  during  the  night,  how- 
ever, being  desirous  of  taking  advantage  of  the  westerly  breeze  Avhich  was 
still  blowing,  to  run  out  of  Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound. 

It  was  not  light  enough  till  half  past  three  on  the  morning  of  the  31st,  to  Thui.  31. 
enable  us  to  perceive  that  the  land  immediately  to  the  eastward  of  Cape 
Craufurd  was  not  continuous,  there  being  a  space  subtending  an  angle  of 
21°  42'  in  the  middle  of  the  supposed  bay,  where  none  was  visible,  though 
the  weather  was  perfectly  clear.  As  the  wind  drew  almost  directly  out  of 
this  opening,  to  which  I  gave  the  name  of  Admiralty  Inlet,  and,  as  it  was 
entirely  occupied  by  ice,  I  did  not  think  its  further  examination  of  sufficient 
importance  to  detain  the  Expedition,  and  therefore  continued  our  course  to 
the  eastward.  The  headland,  which  forms  the  eastern  point  of  the  entrance, 
I  named  after  The  Right  Honourable  Charles  Yorke,  late  First  Lord  of  the 
Admiralty;  and  to  another  within  the  inlet,  I  gave  the  name  of  Cape 
Franklin,  after  my  friend.  Captain  John  Franklin,  of  the  Royal  Navy, 
now  employed  in  investigating  the  northern  shore  of  North  America.  On 
an  inspection  of  the  chart,  it  will  appear  more  than  probable,  that 
the  Admiralty  Inlet  may  one  day  be  found  to  communicate  to  the  south- 
ward with  Prince  Regent's  Inlet,  making  the  land  bet^jreen  them  an  island. 

At  half-past  eight  A.M.,  we  were  abreast  of  the  Navy -Board  Inlet,  round 
the  bottom  of  which  the  continuity  of  the  land  was  still  by  no  means 
clear  to  us ;  in  fact,  it  receded  so  far  to  the  southward,  as  rather  to 
strengthen  the  opinion  we  had  before  formed  of  the  existence  of  a  pas- 
sage in  that  direction;  the  quantity  of  ice  which  occupied  this  inlet, 
however,  prevented  our  ascertaining  this  satisfactorily.  Immediately  off 
Cape  Castlereagh,  we  discovered  two  low  islands,  which  had  not  been 
seen  on  the  preceding  voyage,  and  which  I  named  after  Dr.  William 
WoLLASTON,  a  gentleman  well  known  in  the  scientific  world,  and  one  of  the 
Commissioners  of  Longitude.  To  the  eastward  of  the  Cape,  there  is 
some  comparatively  low  land  next  the  sea,  from  which  abruptly  rise 
the  lofty  Byam  Martin  Mountains,  whose  summits  are  covered  with  per- 
petual snow.  One  of  the  highest  of  these,  immediately  at  the  back  of 
Catherine's  Bay,  of  which  we  were  abreast  at  noon,  was  found  trigonometrl- 
cally  to  be  three  thousand  three  hundred  and  eighty-two  feet  above  the  level 


268  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.    of  the  sea.     It  may  be  remarked  that  the  castellated  appearance  of  the  land 
August,  jg  yery  much  less  on  the  eastern  than  on  the  Avestern  side  of  Admiralty 
Inlet.  Towards  the  west  side  of  Navy -Board  Inlet,  the  land  next  the  sea  be- 
comes comparatively  low,  but  rises  at  the  back  into  high  hills,  which  are  round 
at  the  top ;  in  this  respect  forming  a  striking  contrast  with  the  Martin  Moun- 
tains, the  latter  being  peaked,  though  not  so  sharply  as  those  of  Spitzbergen. 
Our  horizon  being  obstructed  at  noon  by  the  closeness  of  the  land,  I  was 
desirous  of  going  on  shore  to  observe  the  meridian  altitude  ;  but,  on  hauling 
the  ships  to  the  wind  with  that  intention,  I  found  the  beach  so  lined  with  ice 
for  about  half  a  mile  out,  that  it  was  no  where  practicable  to  land,  and  the 
ice  itself  was  too  unsteady  for  the  artificial  horizons ;  we,  therefore,  con- 
tinued to  run  to  the  eastward.     A  large  bear  was  seen  swimming,  and  our 
boats  despatched  in  pursuit  of  him  ;  but  before  the  ship  could  be  rounded 
to,  we  had  run  too  far  to  keep  sight  of  him,  and  the  boats  returned  without 
success.     We  here  passed  several  large  icebergs,  and  a  few  narrow  streams 
of  ice,  of  the  same  thickness  as  that  which  usually  occurs  in  Baffin's  Bay, 
and  which  appeared  very  light  to  us,  in  comparison  with  that  to  which  we 
had  lately  been  accustomed.     Being  off  Cape  Liverpool,  which  headland  is 
formed  by  a  projecting  point  of  the  same  comparatively  low  land  that  I  have 
mentioned  above,  the  water  became  of  a  very  light-green  colour,  and  was  filled 
with  innumerable  shoals  of  the  Argonauta  Arctica  ;  we  found  no  bottom  with 
eighty  fathoms  of  line,  at  the  distance  of  two  or  three  miles  from  the  shore. 
In  the  course  of  this  day's  run  we  saw  two  threshers,  one  black  whale,  a 
seal,  some  dovekeys,  ivory-gulls,  phalaropes,  and  fulmar-petrels.   Considering 
the  extraordinary  number  of  whales  we  had  met  with  in  our  passage  up  Sir 
James  Lancaster's  Sound  in  1819,  it  could  not  but  be  a  matter  of  surprise  to 
us  that  we  had  now  seen  so  few ;  but  this  circumstance  was  afterwards  satis- 
factorily accounted  for  in  a  manner  we  least  expected.    In  the  evening,  being 
off  Cape  Fanshawe,  we  observed  a  long  low  iceberg,  between  that  headland 
and  Possession  Bay,  not  less  than  three-quarters  of  a  mile  in  length,  and 
quite  flat  and  even  at  the  top ;  this  kind  of  iceberg  appears  to  be  almost 
entirely  confined  to  the  western  coast  of  Baffin's  Bay  and  Davis'  Strait,  as  we 
never  met  with  them  in  any  other  part ;  they  are  probably  formed  upon  the 
low  strips  of  land  which  occur  between  the  foot  of  the  hills  and  the  sea  in 
many  parts  of  this  coast. 

As  it  appeared  to  me  that  considerable  service  might  be  rendered  by  a 
general  survey  of  the  western  coast  of  Baffin's  Bay,  which,  from  Sir  James 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE. 


269 


Lancaster's  Sound  southwards,  might  one  day  become  an  impoitant  station  i820. 
for  our  whalers,  I  determined  to  keep  as  close  to  that  shore,  during  our  pas-  ^^S^' 
sage  down,  as  the  ice  and  the  wind  would  permit ;  and  as  the  experience  of 
the  former  voyage  had  led  us  to  suppose  that  this  coast  would  be  almost  clear 
of  ice  during  the  whole  of  September,  I  thought  that  this  month  could  not 
be  better  employed  than  in  the  examination  of  its  numerous  bays  and  inlets. 
Such  an  examination  appeared  to  me  the  more  desirable,  from  the  hope  of 
finding  some  new  outlet  into  the  Polar  Sea  in  a  lower  latitude  than  that  of 
Sir  James  Lancaster's  Sound,  a  discovery  which  would  be  of  infinite  impor- 
tance towards  the  accomplishment  of  the  North-West  Passage. 

Previously  to  commencing  this  survey,  it  was  my  wish  to  have  landed  at 
Possession  Bay,  of  which  the  longitude  had  been  accurately  determined  on  two 
fonner  occasions,  in  order  to  compare  our  chronometers  with  the  time  found 
there,  as  an  intermediate  station  between  Winter  Harbour  and  England  ;  but, 
as  this  would  have  detained  us  a  whole  night,  with  a  fair  wind,  and  with  the 
chance  of  the  following  day  being  after  all  unfavourable  for  observations,  I 
gave  up  my  intention,  and  made  all  sail  along  shore  to  the  southward. 
This  was,  however,  the  less  to  be  regretted,  as  the  few  observations  obtained 
during  our  quick  return  from  Melville  Island,  had  confirmed  the  accuracy  of 
the  rates  assigned  to  the  chronometers  on  leaving  Winter  Harbour. 

Annexed  is  an  abstract  of  the  Meteorological  Observations  made  on  board 
the  ships  during  the  twelve  calendar  months  that  the  Expedition  remained 
between  the  parallels  of  74°  and  75°  north  latitude. 


ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board   His   Majesty's  Ship  Hecla,   for  Twelve 
Calendar  Months  ;  during  which  period,  she  was  between  the  parallels  of  74°  and  75°  North  Latitude. 

Moathe. 

Temperature  of  Air  in  Shade. 

Barometer. 

REMARKS. 

Maxi- 

Hini- 

R.,e. 

Mean. 

M.ixi- 

Mioi- 

Mean. 

1819.  September   . 
October .  .  . 
November    . 
December    . 

1820.  January    .  . 
February  .  . 
March    .  .  . 
April    .... 

Rlay 

June'  .... 

July : .  .  .  . 

August  .  .  . 

0 
+  37 
+  17.5 
+    6 
+    6 
-   2 
-17 
+   C 
+  32 
^47 
+  .51 
1-60 
+45 

0 

-  1 

-28 
-47 
-43 
-47 
-50 
-40 
-32 

-  4 
+  28 
+  32 
+  22 

38 

45.5 

53 

49 

45 

33 

46 

61 

51 

23 

28 

23 

+  22°.54 

-  3.46 
-20.60 
-21.79 
-30.0!) 
-32.19 
-18.10 

-  8.37 
+ 16.6(1 
+  36.24 
+  42.41 
+  32.68 

iiicbef. 

30.42 
30.32 
30.32 
30.755 
30.77 
30.15 
30.26 
30.86 
30.48 
30.13 
30.01 
30.03 

inches- 

29.36 
29.10 
29.63 
29.10 
29.59 
29.32 
29.00 
29.40 
29.25 
29.50 
29.13 
29.46 

inclici. 

29.905 

29.81 

29.945 

29.865 

30.078 

29.769 

29.803 

29.978 

30.109 

29.823 

29.668 

29.734 

The  thermometer  when  placed  on  shore, 
or  on  the  ice  at  a  distance  from  the  ship,  in- 
variably stood  from  3°  to  4°  or  5",  and  even, 
on  some  occasioDS,7°lower  than  tliat  regis- 
tered on  board  :    the  mean  temperature  for 
the    year    may   therefore  be  tairly    consi- 
dered  as  -  2°.     The  lowest  temperature, 
registered  on  the  ice,  was  -  55°;  it  did  not 
rise  above  —  54o,  for  seventeen  hours, on  the 
14th  and  15th  of  February,  1820. 

+  60 

-50 

110 

+   1.33 

30.86 

29.00 

29.874 

ABSTRACT  of  the  METEOROLOGICAL  JOURNAL  kept  on  board  His  Majesty's  Ship  Hecla, 

at  Sea,  during  the  Month  of  August,  1820. 

I 

Day 

Temp 

eratureof  Air 
n  shade. 

Barometer. 

Prevailing  Winds. 

Prevailing  Weather. 

Maxi- 

Mioi- 

Mean. 

Maxi. 

Mini. 

Mean. 

1 

+ 
42* 

+ 
+  32 

+ 
36.21 

inches. 
29.83 

inches. 
29.69 

inches. 
29.767 

W.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy  weather. 

2 

38 

32 

34.17 

29.84 

29.70 

29.793 

s.s.w. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy,  snow  at  times. 

3 

39 

33 

35.92 

29.70 

29.57 

29.647 

Round  the  compass. 

Light  breezes,  thick  hazy  weather. 

4 

38.5 

33 

35.62 

29.69 

29.65 

29.673 

N.W.b.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine. 

5 

41 

30.5 

34.08 

29.79 

29.69 

29.737 

W.b.N. 

light  airs  and  cloudy. 

6 

36 

33 

33.96 

29.76 

29.59 

29.672 

E.S.E. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy,  sleet  and  snow. 

7 

38 

31 

34.92 

29.62 

29.56 

29.595 

Round  the  compass. 

Fresh  breezes  and  fine,  occasional  squalls. 

8 

39 

33 

36.46 

29.64 

29.60 

29.618 

Ditto. 

Light  variable  airs,  cloudy  vpith  rain. 

9 

40 

31 

34.79 

29.60 

29.46 

29.513 

West. 

Light  variable  airs — hazy. 

10 

34 

30 

31.96 

29.60 

29.54 

29.575 

W.b.N. 

Moderate  and  hazy,  small  snow. 

11 

33 

30 

31.29 

29.64 

29.53 

29.592 

E.S.E. 

Light  breezes  and  foggy,  snow  at  times. 

12 

38 

30.6 

34.29 

29.70 

29.48 

29.542 

E.N.E. 

Strong  breezes  and  squally  weather. 

13 

45 

31 

36.92 

29.87 

29.76 

29.828 

Round  the  compass. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

14 

38 

27 

33.22 

29.81 

29.71 

29.762 

West. 

Light  airs  and  hazy. 

15 

37 

29 

32.33 

29.85 

29.76 

29.805 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy,  with  snow. 

16 

34 

29 

32.42 

30.01 

29.83 

29.948 

W.N.W. 

Moderate  and  fine. 

17 

36 

28 

31.83 

30.03 

29.96 

30.007 

W.S.W. 

Light  airs,  and  fine  clear  weather. 

IS 

36 

30 

33.08 

29.90 

29.79 

29.843 

Calm. 

Cloudy. 

19 

40 

28 

33.96 

29.87 

29.79 

29.820 

West. 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

20 

36 

27 

31.67 

29.91 

29.85 

29.888 

West. 

Light  breezes,  fijggy,  and  cloudy. 

21 

37 

26 

30.92 

29.84 

29.69 

29.757 

<      A.M.  Calm.     I 
I      P.M.  East.      5 

Light  breezes  and  foggy,  with  snow. 

22 

37.5 

29 

31.79 

29.69 

29.64 

29.667 

West. 

Light  airs  and  hazy,  snow. 

23 

35 

30 

31.58 

29.79 

29.71 

29.745 

West. 

Moderate  and  cloudy. 

24 

34 

30 

31.79 

29.83 

29.71 

29.79J 

North. 

Light  airs  and  cloudy. 

25 

38 

27 

32.29 

29.85 

29.83 

29.842 

Round  the  compass. 

Ditto                     ditto. 

26 

34 

25.5 

28.92 

29.81 

29.63 

29.737 

N.N.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy. 

27 

31 

22.5 

27.83 

29.92 

29.72 

29.848 

i     A.M.  North.     > 
I     P.M.  West.      $ 

Light  breezes  and  cloudy. 

28 

31 

22 

28.12 

29.86 

29.72 

29.783 

W.S.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  hazy. 

29 

30 

28 

29.00 

29.66 

29.61 

29.645 

N.W.b.W. 

Moderate  and  hazy. 

30 

33 

28 

30.00 

30.00 

29.62 

29.638 

N.W. 

Moderate  and  cloudy  weather. 

31 

34 

29 

31.75 

29.75 

29.63 

29.678 

W.S.W. 

Fresh  breezes  and  cloudy  weather. 

+  45 

+  22 

+  32.68 

30.03 

29.46 

29.734 

■*SPKRf 


VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  271 


CHAPTER    XL 

PROGRESS    DOWN    THE    WESTERN    COAST    OP    BAFFIn's  BAY MEET  WITH  THE 

WHALERS — ACCOUNT    OP    SOME     ESQUIMAUX     IN     THE    INLET    CALLED    THE 
RIVER  CLYDE — CONTINUE     THE    SURVEY    OF    THE    COAST,    TILL  STOPPED  BY 

ICE    IN    THE    LATITUDE    OF    68|° OBLIGED    TO    RUN    TO    THE    EASTWARD 

FRUITLESS    ATTEMPTS    TO    REGAIN    THE    LAND,    AND  FINAL  DEPARTURE 

PROM  THE  ICE REMARKS    UPON    THE    PROBABLE  EXISTENCE  AND  PRACTI- 
CABILITY   OP    A    NORTH-WEST    PASSAGE,    AND    UPON    THE   WHALE-FISHERY 

BOISTEROUS    WEATHER     IN     CROSSING     THE     ATLANTIC LOSS    OP    THE 

HECLA's  BOWSPRIT  AND  FOREMAST ARRIVAL  IN  ENGLAND. 

1  HE  wind  continuing  fresh  from  the  northward,  on  the  morning  of  the  1st 
of  September,  we  bore  up  and  ran  along  the  land,  taking  our  departure  from 
the  flag-staff  in  Possession  Bay,  bearingW.S.W.  five  miles,  at  half-past  four  A.M. 
Having  passed  two  small  bays  in  the  course  of  the  morning,  we  were  abreast 
of  Cape  Graham  Moore  towards  noon,  where  the  ice  led  us  off  to  the  distance 
of  six  or  seven  miles  from  the  land.  Some  water  brought  up  in  D.r.  Marcet's 
bottle  from  the  depth  of  one  hundred  and  ten  fathoms  was  at  the  temperature 
of  30i°,  that  of  the  surface  being  301°,  and  of  the  air  31°.  The  specific  gravity 
of  the  surface-water  at  noon  was  1.0246,  at  the  temperature  of  49°. 

When  abreast  of  the  inlet,  which  had  been  called  Pond's  Bay  on  the 
former  expedition,  the  opening  of  the  two  shores,  as  far  as  the  eye  could 
reach,  appeared  so  large  as  to  excite  considerable  interest.  We,  therefore, 
hauled  in  with  the  intention  of  examining  it,  but  found  the  ice  so  close,  that 
the  ship  was  stopped  almost  in  the  entrance.  The  weather,  however,  was 
at  this  time  remarkably  clear,  and  it  was  the  opinion  of  the  officers,  as  well  ,      i 

as  my  own,  that  the  two  shores  did  not  unite,  there  being  nearly  a  whole  ;  -   | 

point  of  the  compass  in  which  no  land  was  visible  ;  and  it  was  the  general  !       ■= 

belief  that  this  opening  would  be  found  to  communicate  with  the  Navy-Board 
MriAdmiralty  Inlet. 


•- 


I 


IMH 


^^  '-I zl. 


VOYAGE  OF  DISCOVERY.  '^1 


CHAPTER   XI. 

PROGRESS    DOWN    THE    WESTERN    COAST   OF    BAFPIn's  BAY MEET  WITH  THE 

WHALERS — ACCOUNT  OF  SOME  ESQUIMAUX  IN  THE  INLET  CALLED  THE 
RIVER  CLYDE — CONTINUE     THE    SURVEY    OF    THE    COAST,    TILL  STOPPED  BY 

ICE    IN    THE    LATITUDE    OF    68|° OBLIGED    TO    RUN    TO    THE    EASTWARD 

■ — FRUITLESS  ATTEMPTS  TO  REGAIN  THE  LAND,  AND  FINAL  DEPARTURE 
FROM  THE  ICE REMARKS  UPON  THE  PROBABLE  EXISTENCE  AND  PRACTI- 
CABILITY   OF    A    NORTH-WEST    PASSAGE,    AND    UPON    THE   WHALE-FISHERY 

BOISTEROUS    WEATHER     IN     CROSSING     THE     ATLANTIC LOSS    OP    THE 

HECLA's  BOWSPRIT  AND  FOREMAST ARRIVAL  IN  ENGLAND. 

1  HE  wind  continuing  fresh  from  the  northward,  on  the  morning  of  the  1st 
of  September,  we  bore  up  and  ran  along  the  land,  taking  our  departure  from 
the  flag-stafFin  Possession  Bay,  bearing W.S.W.  five  miles,  at  half-past  four  A.M. 
Having  passed  two  small  bays  in  the  course  of  the  morning,  we  were  abreast 
of  Cape  Graham  Moore  towards  noon,  where  the  ice  led  us  off  to  the  distance 
of  six  or  seven  miles  from  the  land.  Some  water  brought  up  in  D.r.  Marcet's 
bottle  from  the  depth  of  one  hundred  and  ten  fathoms  was  at  the  temperature 
of  30i°,  that  of  the  surface  being  30|°,  and  of  the  air  31°.  The  specific  gravity 
of  the  surface-water  at  noon  was  1.0246,  at  the  temperature  of  49°. 

When  abreast  of  the  inlet,  which  had  been  called  Pond's  Bay  on  the 
former  expedition,  the  opening  of  the  two  shores,  as  far  as  the  eye  could 
reach,  appeared  so  large  as  to  excite  considerable  interest.  We,  therefore, 
•  hauled  in  with  the  intention  of  examining  it,  but  found  the  ice  so  close,  that 
the  ship  was  stopped  almost  in  the  entrance.  The  weather,  however,  was 
at  this  time  remarkably  clear,  and  it  was  the  opinion  of  the  officers,  as  well 
as  my  own,  that  the  two  shores  did  not  unite,  there  being  nearly  a  whole 
point  of  the  compass  in  which  no  land  was  visible ;  and  it  was  the  general 
belief  that  this  opening  would  be  found  to  communicate  with  the  Navy-Board 
or -Admiralty  Inlet. 


umaLLr--  r^ 


272  VOYAGE  FOR  THE  DISCOVERY 

1820.  The  ice  led  us  off  very  much  to  the  eastward  after  leaving  Pond's  Bay;  and 
y^J^  the  weather  became  calm,  with  small  snow,  towards  midnight.  In  this  day's 
run,  the  compass-courses  were  occasionally  inserted  in  the  log-book,  being 
the  first  time  that  the  magnetic  needle  had  been  made  use  of  on  board  the 
Hecla,  for  the  purposes  of  navigation,  for  more  than  twelvemonths.  A  few 
rotges  C-Alca  AlleJ  were  seen,  being  the  first  this  season. 
Sat.  2.  There  being  some  swell  upon  the  ice,  which  extended  generally  to  the 
distance  of  three  or  four  leagues  from  the  land,  we  were  under  the  necessity 
of  heaving-to  for  a  few  hours  at  night,  a  precaution  which  was  always  hence- 
forward adopted  in  running  down  this  coast.  At  nine  A.M.,  we  were  abreast 
an  inlet  having  every  appearance  of  a  well-sheltered  harbour,  with  an  island 
near  the  middle  of  its  entrance.  Soon  after  passing  this  inlet,  we  came  to  a 
number  of  icebergs  aground  in  forty-five  fathoms,  on  a  sandy  bottom,  after- 
wards deepening  to  seventy-eight  fathoms ;  a  tide-mark  of  four  or  five  feet 
was  observed  upon  each  of  the  icebergs.  Some  water  brought  up  in  Dr. 
Marcet's  bottle  from  the  depth  of  seventy-five  fathoms,  was  at  the  tempe- 
rature of  32°|,  that  of  the  surface  being  32°,  and  of  the  air  33°.  We  again 
commenced  throwing  bottles  overboard,  containing  papers  with  the  usual 
information,  which  practice  was  continued  daily  till  the  Expedition  reached 
England.  We  saw  no  ice  to  the  eastward  of  us  in  the  course  of  this  day's 
run,  nor  any  blink  in  that  direction. 
Sund.  3.  On  the  morning  of  the  3d,  we  passed  some  of  the  highest  icebergs  I  have 
ever  seen,  one  of  them  being  not  less  than  one  hundred  and  fifty  to  two  hun- 
dred feet  above  the  sea,  judging  from  the  height  of  the  Griper's  masts,  when  near 
it.  At  half-past  seven  A.M.,  being  off' a  point  of  land,  which  is  comparatively 
low  near  the  sea,  with  hills  rising  at  the  back  to  the  height  of  more  than  a 
thousand  feet  above  the  sea,  we  observed  to  the  southward  a  remarkable  dark 
perpendicular  cliffj  forming  the  most  singular  and  conspicuous  object  we  had 
seen  upon  this  coast.  This  cliffj  which,  in  coming  from  the  northward  has  the 
appearance  of  being  detached,  and  is  not  unlike  the  Bass  Rock  in  the  Frith 
of  Forth,  is  situated,  as  we  afterwards  discovered,  upon  an  island,  lying  in 
the  entrance  of  one  of  the  numerous  inlets,  or  fiords,  with  which  this  coast  is 
indented.  The  wind  becoming  light  and  variable  in  the  forenoon,  I  took 
the  opportunity  of  landing  near  this  inlet,  accompanied  by  Captain  Sabine, 
and  some  of  the  other  officers.  The  latitude  observed  on  board  at  noon 
was  71°  24' 20",  being  only  two  miles  and  three  quarters  to  the  southward 
of  the  dead  reckoning  in  three  days,  by  which  we  considered  that  there 


OF  A  NORTH-WEST  PASSAGE.  273 

could  be  no  current  of  any  importance  setting  in  that  direction  on  this  part 
of  the  coast.  The  soundings  were  eighty-eight  fathoms  on  a  muddy  bottom; 
the  temperature  of